Biofuel Cells

Integrated Biorefinery-Bioelectrochemical Systems

Research Areas Include:

  • Electricity production via microbial and enzyme fuels cells
  • Optimization of microbial fuel cells for organic and inorganic waste removal
  • Biofilm establishment and systems biology studies in microbial fuel cells
  • Development of three-dimensional enzyme electrodes for fuel cells

The goal of our MFC studies is two-fold. First goal is to understand the bioelectrochemical mechanisms of the reactions occurring at the anode and/or the cathode. The primary tool used to do this is Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS). EIS provides a buleprint of the numerous processes ocurring within the MFC and a means to quantitate the mass transfer, kinetics and electrochemical parameters associated with these processes. We are working on linking the biological parameters associated with exoelectrogenic biofilms to electron and proton transfer. A better understanding of the MFC bioelectrochemical parameters should enable changes in design and biology of the fuel cells to improve power density. The second goal of our work is to better understand the operational and practical aspects of microbial fuel cells and other bioelectrochemical systems. Long term studies of MFCs and other devices is in progress to determine application feasibility of the MFC and related technologies.

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Microbial Fuel Cells R&D – from fundamental concepts to application studies.

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EFCs offer potential for higher power densities; however, stability of the enyzmes is a significant issue. Additionally, volumetric power densities of these devices needs to be optimized to enable development of portable power units. The parameters of importance in EFCs are different than those in MFCs and include nanostructure, protein stabilization, multi-dimensionality, and fuel energy density.

Links

Patents

Publications

For more information, contact:
Abhijeet Borole (borolea@ornl.gov, 865-576-7421)
Choo Yieng Hamilton (hamiltoncy@ornl.gov, 865-574-6836)