This is a true fuel cell in that both the anaerobic and electrolyte media are replaceable and the salt bridge may be serviced as needed. The fuel cell consumes organic material and produces electricity and methane ( or more properly biogas include CO2 and other gasses ). These are captured in a methane store for further processing....Okay, it's a balloon and I have no idea what you should do with the biogas except be careful and experiment with it.
We'll be using a traditional two cell design with a gelatin/salt bridge. Most commonly agar is used but we'll be trying both traditional unflavored gelatin as well as hide glue. Yes, you can actually use Jello brand flavored gelatin and I would be very interested in your results.
I also intend to experiment with gelatinous nutrient medium in the anode chamber. It seems to me a gel based replaceable anode would be a significant enhancement to the utility of this technology.
The device has two relatively small chambers (approximately 100 mL). In theory microbe population densities are primarily a function of nutrients and not space and we should be able to obtain (more or less) the same charge out of a 100 mL cell as we would from a 1L cell with the same population.
Now let's take a look at the materials we'll be using.
Step 1: Bill of Materials
Drill Press or Drill with bits
Soldering iron with solder
Skewer ( wood or metal )
2 power tool replacement brushes
I got these from the specialty hardware department at ACE
2 1x1x1 PVC Schedule 40 Tee
3 1" PVC Schedule 40 Connector
1 1" PVC Schedule 40 Slip Cap
2 1" PVC Schedule 40 Plug
1 1x1/2 Slip vs FPT threaded adapter
Titanium fishing lead
Clear plastic wrap
Salt Bridge Medium
- Knox Unflavored Gelatin
- Hide Glue (powdered not liquid)
- Microbe-Lift Septic Tank Treatment - Ace Hardware
Rid-X which are not specifically anaerobic. I have not tested these and have no idea what results
their microbes may produce
- Wastewater primary effluent
- Fish bearing river, creek, lake or stream sediment
- Prepared culture such as E. Coli