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Effect of Location on the Performance of Benthic Microbial Fuel Cells

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The lifetime of remote sensors is often limited by battery power. Replacing batteries is costly and time-consuming, and it may be impractical when the sensors are deployed at remote locations. Benthic microbial fuel cells (BMFCs) constitute a promising alternative power source that may replace or supplement batteries. In this study we investigated power generation by BMFCs deployed in coastal bays, at Newport, OR and San Diego, CA, and in a freshwater creek, at Pullman, WA. All the BMFCs were composed of graphite anodes and stainless steel cathodes. The projected surface areas (i.e., footprint) of the anodes were 0.46, 0.46, and 0.21 m2, at the respective locations, and the cathodes were 2.5 m2 at all locations. The anodes were buried in the sediments and the cathodes were submerged in water and suspended above the anodes. We found that the power generated by the BMFCs was location-specific. The average amounts of power generated by the BMFCs deployed at Newport, OR; San Diego, CA; and Pullman, WA were 15.5, 1.2 and 11 mW, respectively.
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Keywords: Microbial fuel cell; remote sensors; renewable power generation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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