Electricity generation by living plants in a plant microbial fuel cell

R.A. Timmers

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WUAcademic

Abstract

Society is facing local and global challenges to secure needs of people. One of those needs is the increasing demand of energy. Currently most energy is generated by conversion of fossil fuels. The major drawback of using fossil fuels is pollution of the environment by emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and fine particles. Furthermore fossil fuels are not renewable in a time scale in the order of decades. The microbial solar cell (MSC) is a new collective name of biotechnological systems that integrate photosynthetic and electrochemically active organisms to generate electricity in a clean and renewable manner. Among the MSCs, the plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) that employs higher plants, is the most promising MSCs. In PMFCs, plant roots provide substrate for electrochemically active bacteria in the anode by the loss of organic compounds. In natural environments plant roots loose organic compound by diffusion through the cell membrane, or release organic compounds in order to acquire necessary nutrient. In both cases these organic compounds are an energy source for micro-organisms. In the PMFC these lost or released organic compounds are partly utilized by electrochemically active bacteria. During the oxidation of these organic compounds s electrochemically active bacteria transfer electrons to the anode electrode and produce protons and carbon dioxide. The electrons flow via a power harvester to the cathode compartment where the electrons are consumed by typically oxygen reduction. The aim of this thesis was to characterize the PMFC biologically and electrochemically and to improve the design towards higher applicable power outputs. The approach of this thesis was to understand processes in the PMFC which limit electrical power generation and use these findings to improve electrical power generation and the applicability of the PMFC design.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Buisman, Cees, Promotor
  • Hamelers, Bert, Co-promotor
  • Strik, David, Co-promotor
Award date15 May 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789461912824
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

electricity generation
fuel cell
organic compound
fossil fuel
electrical power
power generation
electron
bacterium
carbon dioxide
nitrogen oxides
sulfur dioxide
volatile organic compound
energy
electricity
electrode
heavy metal
membrane
timescale
oxidation
substrate

Keywords

  • electricity generation
  • microbial fuel cells

Cite this

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title = "Electricity generation by living plants in a plant microbial fuel cell",
abstract = "Society is facing local and global challenges to secure needs of people. One of those needs is the increasing demand of energy. Currently most energy is generated by conversion of fossil fuels. The major drawback of using fossil fuels is pollution of the environment by emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and fine particles. Furthermore fossil fuels are not renewable in a time scale in the order of decades. The microbial solar cell (MSC) is a new collective name of biotechnological systems that integrate photosynthetic and electrochemically active organisms to generate electricity in a clean and renewable manner. Among the MSCs, the plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) that employs higher plants, is the most promising MSCs. In PMFCs, plant roots provide substrate for electrochemically active bacteria in the anode by the loss of organic compounds. In natural environments plant roots loose organic compound by diffusion through the cell membrane, or release organic compounds in order to acquire necessary nutrient. In both cases these organic compounds are an energy source for micro-organisms. In the PMFC these lost or released organic compounds are partly utilized by electrochemically active bacteria. During the oxidation of these organic compounds s electrochemically active bacteria transfer electrons to the anode electrode and produce protons and carbon dioxide. The electrons flow via a power harvester to the cathode compartment where the electrons are consumed by typically oxygen reduction. The aim of this thesis was to characterize the PMFC biologically and electrochemically and to improve the design towards higher applicable power outputs. The approach of this thesis was to understand processes in the PMFC which limit electrical power generation and use these findings to improve electrical power generation and the applicability of the PMFC design.",
keywords = "opwekking van elektriciteit, microbi{\"e}le brandstofcellen, electricity generation, microbial fuel cells",
author = "R.A. Timmers",
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Timmers, RA 2012, 'Electricity generation by living plants in a plant microbial fuel cell', Doctor of Philosophy, Wageningen University, S.l..

Electricity generation by living plants in a plant microbial fuel cell. / Timmers, R.A.

S.l. : s.n., 2012. 196 p.

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WUAcademic

TY - THES

T1 - Electricity generation by living plants in a plant microbial fuel cell

AU - Timmers, R.A.

N1 - WU thesis 5234

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Society is facing local and global challenges to secure needs of people. One of those needs is the increasing demand of energy. Currently most energy is generated by conversion of fossil fuels. The major drawback of using fossil fuels is pollution of the environment by emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and fine particles. Furthermore fossil fuels are not renewable in a time scale in the order of decades. The microbial solar cell (MSC) is a new collective name of biotechnological systems that integrate photosynthetic and electrochemically active organisms to generate electricity in a clean and renewable manner. Among the MSCs, the plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) that employs higher plants, is the most promising MSCs. In PMFCs, plant roots provide substrate for electrochemically active bacteria in the anode by the loss of organic compounds. In natural environments plant roots loose organic compound by diffusion through the cell membrane, or release organic compounds in order to acquire necessary nutrient. In both cases these organic compounds are an energy source for micro-organisms. In the PMFC these lost or released organic compounds are partly utilized by electrochemically active bacteria. During the oxidation of these organic compounds s electrochemically active bacteria transfer electrons to the anode electrode and produce protons and carbon dioxide. The electrons flow via a power harvester to the cathode compartment where the electrons are consumed by typically oxygen reduction. The aim of this thesis was to characterize the PMFC biologically and electrochemically and to improve the design towards higher applicable power outputs. The approach of this thesis was to understand processes in the PMFC which limit electrical power generation and use these findings to improve electrical power generation and the applicability of the PMFC design.

AB - Society is facing local and global challenges to secure needs of people. One of those needs is the increasing demand of energy. Currently most energy is generated by conversion of fossil fuels. The major drawback of using fossil fuels is pollution of the environment by emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and fine particles. Furthermore fossil fuels are not renewable in a time scale in the order of decades. The microbial solar cell (MSC) is a new collective name of biotechnological systems that integrate photosynthetic and electrochemically active organisms to generate electricity in a clean and renewable manner. Among the MSCs, the plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) that employs higher plants, is the most promising MSCs. In PMFCs, plant roots provide substrate for electrochemically active bacteria in the anode by the loss of organic compounds. In natural environments plant roots loose organic compound by diffusion through the cell membrane, or release organic compounds in order to acquire necessary nutrient. In both cases these organic compounds are an energy source for micro-organisms. In the PMFC these lost or released organic compounds are partly utilized by electrochemically active bacteria. During the oxidation of these organic compounds s electrochemically active bacteria transfer electrons to the anode electrode and produce protons and carbon dioxide. The electrons flow via a power harvester to the cathode compartment where the electrons are consumed by typically oxygen reduction. The aim of this thesis was to characterize the PMFC biologically and electrochemically and to improve the design towards higher applicable power outputs. The approach of this thesis was to understand processes in the PMFC which limit electrical power generation and use these findings to improve electrical power generation and the applicability of the PMFC design.

KW - opwekking van elektriciteit

KW - microbiële brandstofcellen

KW - electricity generation

KW - microbial fuel cells

M3 - internal PhD, WU

SN - 9789461912824

PB - s.n.

CY - S.l.

ER -