High efficiency energy harvesting from microbial fuel cells using a synchronous boost converter

Jae Do Park, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) convert chemical energy stored in biodegradable substrates into direct electricity, which can be used to power remote sensors or offset the energy used during wastewater treatment. Power electronic converters have been developed to replace external resistors and harvest and store energy from MFCs, which is a significant improvement in MFC studies because external resistors only demonstrate power generation potential without actually capturing usable energy. However, the efficiency of conventional diode based energy harvester is low due to the high power loss of the diode. This study presents a synchronous boost converter based MFC energy harvester using a P-channel MOSFET, which improved the converter efficiency by 73%, from 43.8% to 75.9%. A modified hysteresis controller was developed to provide precise control during energy harvesting and operating and also prevented reverse current flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-327
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • DC/DC converter
  • Energy harvesting
  • Microbial fuel cell (MFC)
  • Synchronous boost converter


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