Ecowatt Biobattery

Calvin Engineering Senior Design 2007-2008

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Objective

The scope of the project is defined as designing a microbial fuel cell (MFC) to generate power including a power management system. The MFC system has been divided into two basic components as seen in the figure.

Design
For this project, Ecowatt will design and create a prototype for a microbial fuel cell aka “Biobattery.” The term “Biobattery,” for the purposes of this project, refers to a device which generates power by Geobacter, a type of microbial organism. The Biobattery designed by Ecowatt will consist of a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) system comprising a Feed and Water System, an Output Regulator, and a MFC Monitoring System.

All features of the case design must be reasonably robust and leak-resistant. The case must be easy to carry and intuitive to use. The Biobattery should be contained in an attractive package that appeals to the target market.

Each MFC contains two compartments separated by a proton exchange membrane that generate an electric charge as a result of the eating behavior of the microbes. MFC design will also include specifications for the appropriate electrodes and a proton exchange membrane between the two solutions.

The Feed and Water System will manage the flow of feed solution into the MFC as well as the flow of water solution out of the MFC. The Feed and Water System also includes design of the MFC chambers and a Tank Refilling Station.

The Output Regulator will ensure a stable power output at standard battery voltage and consistent current whenever the MFC is functioning.

A MFC Monitoring System will communicate to a user by relaying important information such as the voltage level of the MFC and feeding time for Geobacter.