Introduction: Microbial Fuel Cell of Science!!!
Fuel cell that harvests electrons from the bacteria in mud! And ELECTRons mean ELECTRicity....you get me?
The cell also makes a great habitat for a beta fish... The bacteria decompose the fish poop adding to the cell's fuel and keeping the water clean!
Step 1: Get Some MUCK!
"MUCK" is actually the correct term for soil from Wetlands .... I LOVE WETLANDS!
Muck has all kinds of awesome bacteria, one of which is Geobacter, it produces electrons as part of its cellular digestion!
Step 2: Prepare the Proton Exchange Membrane
75g salt. 200ml water. 5 grams agar or gelatin. Bring to boil. Petri dish. Fridge. Done.
The bacteria produce hydrogen IONS (an ion is an atom that has lost electrons)...a hydrogen ATOM is nothing but a proton and an electron buzzing around it...its like if the Earth was a proton and the moon was an electron...take away the moon....er I mean the electron and all you are left with is a single PROTON aka a hydrogen ION
The PEM as they say allows protons through it and recombine with oxygen and the electrons to form a circuit and H20 as a byproduct.
Step 3: Make Electrodes
PREPARE THE ANODE (-)
Cut up strips of window screen and fold them into a square.
Google how to make "char cloth"....normally its made by survivalists to act as tinder for fire making but the high carbon content will make the bacteria grow and exchange their electrons to the window screen wire! Wrap the screen around a thick mat of carbon cloth. You can also just strip the insulation off the black wire and wrap the copper inner wires around a thick mat of char cloth if you don't have window screen or alligator clips.
PREPARE THE CATHODE (+)
Strip the red wire's insulation back to expose the copper wire's "dendrites" or "feelers" as I like to call them.
Step 4: Put It All Together
- Fill the Beaker with MUCK and the anode (make sure the anode is covered on top and bottom)
- Put the PEM gel mold on top
- Fill up gently with water
- Put cathode in water (half in half out..see pix)
BOOM! Electricity! After a few days you can watch the voltage increase as more bacteria grow on the anode!
Right now I'm experimenting with "charge pump circuits" to bring the voltage up from 500-600mv to 3 volts!
Participated in the
Weekend Projects Contest