Oregon State University researchers have designed a new air cathode microbial fuel cell that produces 10 times more energy than previously possible from the same size fuel cell. Biological or microbial fuel cells consist of bacteria that consume pollutants, and in the process shed electrons which flow through a circuit to generate electricity.
The team, led by Hong Liu, an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering, was recently able to produce 1,500 watts per cubic meter of reactor volume. Because the reactor cleans water, as well as produces electricity it has the potential to function not only in permanent treatment facilities, smart homes, and bioremediation sites, but also as a portable center for energy generation and water treatment.
"Our research results are very promising. There is a real future here, and I hope we can make a small contribution to the world." Says Liu.