Microbial fuel cells based on carbon veil electrodes: Stack configuration and scalability

Ieropoulos, I., Greenman, J. and Melhuish, C. (2008) Microbial fuel cells based on carbon veil electrodes: Stack configuration and scalability. International Journal of Energy Research, 32 (13). pp. 1228-1240. ISSN 0363-907X

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/er.1419

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the performance of three different sizes of MFC when operated under continuous flow conditions using acetate as the fuel substrate and show how small-scale multiple units may be best configured to optimize power output. Polarisation curve experiments were carried out for individual MFCs of each size, and also for stacks of multiple small-scale MFCs, in series, parallel and series-parallel configurations. Of the three combinations, the series-parallel proved to be the more efficient one, stepping-up both the voltage and current of the system, collectively. Optimum resistor loads determined for each MFC size during the polarisation experiments, were then used to determine the long-term mean power output. In terms of power density expressed as per unit of electrode surface area and as per unit of anode volume, the small size MFC was superior to both the medium and large scale MFCs by a factor of 1.5 and 3.5 respectively. Based on measured power output from 10 small units, a theoretical projection for 80 small units (giving the same equivalent anodic volume as one large 500mL unit), gave a projected output of 10W/m3, which is approximately 50 times higher than the recorded output produced by the large MFC. Results from this study suggest that MFC scale-up may be better achieved by connecting multiple small-size units together rather than increasing the size of an individual unit.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: "Ieropoulos, Ioannis and Greenman, John and Melhuish, Chris (2008) Microbial fuel cells based on carbon veil electrodes: stack configuration and scalability. International Journal of Energy Research, 32 (13). pp. 1228-1240" which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/er.1419.
Uncontrolled Keywords:microbial fuel cells, scalability, stack configuration, maximum power transfer, internal resistance, fluidic conductance, continuous flow, mixed culture
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics
Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Biological, Biomedical and Analytical Sciences
ID Code:11946
Deposited By: Dr I. Ieropoulos
Deposited On:15 Dec 2010 14:31
Last Modified:13 Aug 2013 19:47

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