High Power Density Microbial Fuel Cells on a Chip

Miniature microbial fuel cells have recently drawn lots of attention as portable power generation devices due to their short startup time and environmentally-friendly process which could be used for powering small integrated biosensors. We aim to design and fabricate a microbial fuel cell in a microfluidic platform and integrate it with lab-on-a-chip devices and MEMS. Our approach is to make the device using polydimethylsi-loxane with a chamber volume of as low as 4 μL, and ultra-thin catalyst-electrodes based on functional soft materials. Such device should have a very short startup time; and power density high enough to power lab-on-a-chip micro devices.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • Design and fabricate the microbial fuel cell chamber
  • Investigate dependence of power density and startup time on bacteria type
  • Investigate dependence of power density on catalyst materials and properties
  • Integrate the microbial fuel cell with lab-on-a-chip devices and  MEMS

Program mentor: Nastaran Hashemi, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University

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