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Lab Chip. 2011 Mar 21;11(6):1110-7. doi: 10.1039/c0lc00494d. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

A μL-scale micromachined microbial fuel cell having high power density.

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School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.


We report a MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)-based microbial fuel cell (MFC) that produces a high power density. The MFC features 4.5-μL anode/cathode chambers defined by 20-μm-thick photo-definable polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films. The MFC uses a Geobacter-enriched mixed bacterial culture, anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) that produces a conductive biofilm matrix. The MEMS MFC generated a maximum current density of 16,000 μA cm(-3) (33 μA cm(-2)) and power density of 2300 μW cm(-3) (4.7 μW cm(-2)), both of which are substantially greater than achieved by previous MEMS MFCs. The coulombic efficiency of the MEMS MFC was at least 31%, by far the highest value among reported MEMS MFCs. The performance improvements came from using highly efficient ARB, minimizing the impact of oxygen intrusion to the anode chamber, having a large specific surface area that led to low internal resistance.

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