An introduction to sediment microbial fuel cells
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An Introduction to Sediment Microbial Fuel Cells. What is a Fuel Cell?. A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity through a chemical reaction. It is similar to a battery, but unlike a battery the chemicals can be continuously supplied. What is electricity?.

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An Introduction to Sediment Microbial Fuel Cells

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An Introduction to Sediment Microbial Fuel Cells


What is a Fuel Cell?

  • A fuel cell is a device that generates

    electricity through a chemical reaction.

  • It is similar to a battery, but unlike a battery

    the chemicals can be continuously supplied


What is electricity?

  • Electricity is energy made available through the flow of electrons.

Loses electrons

Gains

electrons


  • If both substances are in the same solution, then the electrons transfer directly and the energy is dispersed as heat.


How does it work?

  • If the two substances are separated, and the electrons are transferred through a wire then the energy is transformed into electricity.

Tube filled with electrolyte solution

e-

Gains

electrons

Loses electrons

Electrodes


Vocab

Electrode:

  • The site at which electrons are either released or collected.

  • Two types of electrodes:

    • Anode (-): The site at which electrons are collected.

    • Cathode (+): The site at which electrons are released.


Vocab

  • Electrolyte solution:

    A solution that can carry ions between the anodic and cathodic chambers.


How do we apply this to a sediment microbial fuel cell?

Cathode

Water

Anode

Fish Tank


So, where are the chemicals?


What is the reaction?

Two parts to the reaction:

  • Reaction in the anodic chamber

    + H2O  CO2 + H+ + electrons

  • Reaction in the cathodic chamber

    Oxygen + H+ + electrons  H2O

Organic compound


For example:

Anodic chamber

C2H4O2 + 2H2O  2CO2 + 4H+ + 4e-

OR

C6H12O6 + 6H2O  6CO2 + 24H+ + 24e-

Cathodic chamber

4O2 + 4H+ + 4e- 4H2O

OR

6O2 + 24H+ + 24e-  12H2O


Why do we need the microbes?

  • The microbes are what make the reaction “go”. They are the catalyst.

  • A catalyst initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction but remains unchanged.

  • Example: enzymes


Kinda like this…


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