A Low Cost and Versatile Microbial Fuel Cell

Summary A novel, low-cost microbial fuel cell (MFC) capable of delivering high power, high-efficiency energy. The MFC takes advantage of an easily accessible and ubiquitous carbon source. The organic carbon source can be metabolized by a wide number of microbial types and the Girguis laboratory has identified many microbial types that can grow on a fuel cell’s anode and stimulate power production. Thus, using extremely simple electronics, they can configure the microbial fuel cell to select for different microbial types, depending on the carbon source. NOTE: This technology has been licensed to Harvard spin-out Trophos Energy.

Applications The number of applications for this low cost microbial fuel cell is large. It can be used to provide power in areas that pose difficulties for other power sources (e.g. conventional power grids, solar and wind power). It is easy to imagine MFCs powering LEDs that illuminate roads or demarcate the edges of rivers and streams. A microbial fuel cell can also help people of third world countries a means to illuminate their homes without a risk to their health and safety. The microbial fuel cell can be implanted in the body as a power source for a pacemaker, a microsensor or a microactuator. In this example, the MFC would take glucose from the blood stream or possibly other substrates contained in the body and use this to generate electricity to power these devices. The MFC can be installed to provide energy for waste water treatment plants, cell phones and kitchen appliances. The power harnessed by a microbial fuel cell can also be used by mountain hikers for portable energy, camp lights, and heat generation. For Further Information Please Contact the Director of Business Development Daniel Behr Email: daniel_behr@harvard.edu Telephone: (617) 495-3067

Inventor(s): Girguis, Peter

Type of Offer: Licensing



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