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Microbial Fuel Cells

Abstract—The most challenging issue today is production of clean yet sustainable sources of alternate and renewable energy as nonrenewable sources of energy like petrol, oil, etc. are short lived, expensive and pollute the environment. To address these concerns, a major effort has been made towards clean and green electricity generation through Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology. MFC is a bio-electrochemical device designed for the purpose of electricity generation in the process of wastewater treatment. It consists of four parts, (1) Anode chamber filled with organic matter (anaerobic condition), (2) Cathode chamber filled with water (aerobic condition), (3) Proton selective membrane separating two chambers and (4) external circuit connecting anode and cathode. Decomposition of organic matter by bacteria produces electrons that flow through external circuit and protons that pass through membrane thereby producing electricity. In the present work, waste water samples were collected from various locations and analysed for various parameters such as pH, Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Colony forming Unit per ml (CFU/ml). A MFC was constructed and the collected sewage samples were used to determine the power generating ability of bacteria present inherently in the samples. Useful open circuit voltage was measured, which ensures MFC to be the one of the promising technology of future for cost effective clean electricity generation. MFC has various applications such as energy source for small electronic devices, bio-sensor for BOD measurement, wastewater treatment, hydrogen production, etc.

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