A simple microbial fuel cell model for improvement of biomedical device powering times

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Conference Proceeding
2014 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2014, 2014, pp. 634 - 637
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© 2014 IEEE. This study describes a Matlab based Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) model for a suspended microbial population, in the anode chamber for the use of the MFC in powering biomedical devices. The model contains three main sections including microbial growth, microbial chemical uptake and secretion and electrochemical modeling. The microbial growth portion is based on a Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) model for the microbial growth with substrate and electron acceptors. Microbial stoichiometry is used to determine chemical concentrations and their rates of change and transfer within the MFC. These parameters are then used in the electrochemical modeling for calculating current, voltage and power. The model was tested for typically exhibited MFC characteristics including increased electrode distances and surface areas, overpotentials and operating temperatures. Implantable biomedical devices require long term powering which is the main objective for MFCs. Towards this end, our model was tested with different initial substrate and electron acceptor concentrations, revealing a four-fold increase in concentrations decreased the power output time by 50%. Additionally, the model also predicts that for a 35.7% decrease in specific growth rate, a 50% increase in power longevity is possible.
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