Team:UC-Santa Cruz-BioE



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A Little Introduction...

What is a microbial fuel cell?

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) generate electricity via the anaerobic metabolism of certain types of bacteria. Such electrogenic organisms are able to transfer electrons during the metabolism of organic material. Naturally, it follows that, with a little bit of design, these bacteria can be used to generate a current in a fuel cell. There is definite possibility that MFCs could be used extensively as a means to collect energy from waste water. Therefore, we have set out to create our own MFC, in a project where life and electronics aggregate together.

On Our Bacteria of Choice

While there are several known electrogenic bacteria known to exist, we have chosen Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 . There were several reason for this:

  • Good Availability: It was accessible even with limited financial resources
  • Quick Growth: grows faster and easier than Geobactor metallireducens
  • Facultative Anaerobe: Shewanella does not die when exposed to air
  • Electrogenic: Shewanella oneidensis is electrogenic because it can reduce metals

Design Goals

Primary goal in the MFC's design:

  1. Increase Biofilm Growth