Summaries - Office of Research & Innovation
Back Output Power Optimization of Bacterial BioFuel Cells by Scalable Microfluidic Devices
|Division||Graduate School of Engineering & Applied Science|
|Sponsor||Space & Naval Warfare Systems Center-Pacific (Navy)|
The Navy’s current 30-year R&D plan reflects a greatly increased projected use on drones – UAV, USV, and UUV (unmanned air, surface, and underwater vehicles). Large fleets of drones promise to cover a much larger area of monitoring and control at a fraction of the cost of traditional assets, with significantly reduced logistics tail, and decreased risks for human personnel. However, fleets like that will pose their own logistics challenges, particularly in terms of energy and refueling.
One of the possible solutions of this problem is the advent of a distributed network of automated power stations in the area of operation, particularly if the stations use renewable and local sources of power. Then once deployed, such a network would serve the drone craft operating in the area with little control and no energy input from the outside.
An example of such a power source is biofuel cells based on benthic bacteria. These bacteria live in the soil of the ocean floor. As a result of their natural life processes, they expel electrons, which can be captured and run through a load connected to the seawater. The result is electrical power generated from the bacteria. Each bacterium produces a tiny amount, but if there is a lot of bacteria and their output can be efficiently harvested, then the resulting power can be significant. For example, scale-up may allow the electrical energy to be stored in traditional chemical batteries and/or electric capacitors. Then roaming UUVs could periodically come to the moored biofuel power station, dock, recharge, and then go back to their assignments.
In the proposed project, we will prototype microfluidic chips, put bacteria in it, and then measure the output power as a function of the geometry of the chips and the concentration of the bacteria. This will allow us to optimize these parameters to maximize the output power per unit volume. Then our optimized chip would serve as a building block to scale up the system that would produce proportionally larger power output under maximized performance. Hence our project promises to contribute a major step forward in the development of this promising renewable energy technology.
|Keywords||BMVC Fuel Cell MFC Microbial Benthic Microfluidics|
|Publications||Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal|
|Data||Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal|