Development of Heterotrophic and Phototrophic Microbial Fuel Cell
Apart from the various alternatives of conventional energy sources, electricity generated by microorganisms can be an important source of renewable energy. The Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) which harnesses this potential, offers possibilities of extracting energy from a wide range of substrates from complex organic wastes to inorganic carbon dioxide. Hence, electricity generation can be seamlessly coupled with bioremediation and carbon dioxide sequestration. Microbial fuel cell is an electrochemical device that captures the electrons generated by the microbes on utilization of the substrates (say for eg. waste water). The microbes interact with the anode in an anoxic condition and donates electrons through physical interaction or through chemical mediators. Electron flow in the circuit is sustained through electron scavenging in the cathode with the use of oxygen, and the separation of the anode and cathode with an efficient Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) which acts as an efficient interface for the equilibration of the proton between the chambers. Though low yielding in its present form, MFC in conjunction with other non-conventional sources of energy has the potential to make a dent in the usage of fossil fuel based energy.