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How does bacteria-filled fuel cell work?

Everyone knows bacteria as a disease causing agent. But the researchers of bio Design University have proved that bacteria, the tiny micro organism is viable for generating electricity. Recent study on journal of bioengineering and biotechnology showed that bacteria filled fuel cells work. Critical insight of this microbial organism leads to commercialization. The remains of animals or any organism which are considered as waste are capable of generating electricity. In fact at current scenario everybody meets the shortage of electricity due to development in industry and technology that makes use of electricity.


Microbial cells working:

Marcus, graduate in engineering proved the manure of pig and waste indeed serve the purpose for generation of electricity. The catalytic reaction of biological organisms has been made use for the getting electrical energy thru chemical energy. A specific membrane separates the cathode, negatively charged electrode and anode, positively charged electrode immersed inside a microbial fuel. The fuel in the anode is oxidized by microbial organism generating protons and electrons. Through electric circuit electrons are transmitted to cathode and protons via membrane leading to the formation of water. Glucose and methanol obtained form the scraps of food are widely used bacteria-filled fuel cells, which may be with or without mediator.


Matrix medium:

The bacteria initially break down the organic waste into carbon dioxide and electrons are transferred to anode. The lives of bacteria depend on anode where they breathe by transformation of electrons. Under the action of metabolism the biofilm nothing but the community of bacteria is formed. These communities form a matrix of element which get settled and stick to anode. Matrix is a composition of sugar, proteins and cells of bacteria. Nanowires are used for the conduction of electrons inside the matrix.


Organic materials can be used for feeding fuel cells. But only bacteria are vital to react with these micro organic materials for the power generation. In waste water treatment plant, these microbial are used for consuming waste and supplement power for the plant. The current generated by this technique is directly proportion to the water strength as consumed and used by fuel cells, therefore the strength of waste water can be hence found out for research purpose. Hence the work for the society in measuring the biochemical oxygen demand in sewage water is further plummeting. Inspite of 5 days, the real time measurement is achieved through BOD sensor. Further advancement in this field is by making use of commercially obtainable respiratory inhibitors.

Growth of bacteria:

Pertaining to the availability of nutrients, growth of bacteria varies. An equation has been developed for its generation and development in biological field. The potential is maintained by controlling fuel or wastage amount, biomass accumulated and electric impending of biofilm anode. Ernst equations describe the metabolic activity in bacteria and control the concentration of negatively charged electrons nothing but the electric potential. Innovative models are being developed by researchers for performance optimization and funds being provided from NASA and other research institute for commercialization of MFC (microbial fuel cells) research.

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