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Microbial Fuel Cells (Design Study) - Essay Example

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The design study project will include the construction of a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) with inexpensive materials and the electricity generation capability will be compared to the traditional MFCs which require expensive membranes like Nafion by DuPont and Platinum cathodes. The…
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Microbial Fuel Cells (Design Study)
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"Microbial Fuel Cells (Design Study)"

Download file to see previous pages We are, today, faced with an extraordinary situation in which the world population has reached a stage where the conventional sources of energy like fossil fuels have been depleted so much that there is little hope for the coming generations to be able to harness any of it. Therefore, there is an urgent need to discover sustainable sources of energy that will not only help in reducing the carbon footprint but can also be replicated in the developing nations. A literature review on such alternative sources of energy revealed that microbial fuel cells, which employ microorganisms to biodegrade pollutants from the environment to generate electricity, are a novel method of reclaiming natural resources along with providing a new means of generating energy.
This design study will be an effort towards determining the cost-efficiency of traditional MFCs versus a simple, single chambered MFC comprising of cheaper components. The purpose of the experiment will be to popularize the inexpensive MFCs and show if scaled up, they can present a low-price energy source, which will at the same time be used for bioremediation of water resources polluted by effluents.
Microbial fuel cells work on the principle that some microorganisms called electricigens produce electricity while metabolizing wastewater for their sustenance. The MFC consists of a semi-permeable membrane or cation exchange membrane that allows ions to pass through them but not the microbes; two electrodes, usually the cathode is made up of platinum and the anode is carbon graphite or carbon cloth. It is fitted by a wire to complete the external circuit (Microbal Fuel Cell, 2008). Wastewater is made to flow through the anaerobic compartment and the bacterial metabolic action on the wastewater allows electrons to become free and the cell starts conducting electricity.
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