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Dynamic electrical reconfiguration for improved capacitor charging in microbial fuel cell stacks

Papaharalabos, George; Greenman, John; Stinchcombe, Andrew; Horsfield, Ian; Melhuish, Chris; Ieropoulos, Ioannis


George Papaharalabos

Andrew Stinchcombe

Ian Horsfield

Chris Melhuish
Professor of Robotics & Autonomous Systems

Yannis Ieropoulos
Professor in Bioenergy & Director of B-B


A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bioelectrochemical device that uses anaerobic bacteria to convert chemical energy locked in biomass into small amounts of electricity. One viable way of increasing energy extraction is by stacking multiple MFC units and exploiting the available electrical configurations for increasing the current or stepping up the voltage. The present study illustrates how a real-time electrical reconfiguration of MFCs in a stack, halves the time required to charge a capacitor (load) and achieves 35% higher current generation compared to a fixed electrical configuration. This is accomplished by progressively switching in-parallel elements to in-series units in the stack, thus maintaining an optimum potential difference between the stack and the capacitor, which in turn allows for a higher energy transfer. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Papaharalabos, G., Greenman, J., Stinchcombe, A., Horsfield, I., Melhuish, C., & Ieropoulos, I. (2014). Dynamic electrical reconfiguration for improved capacitor charging in microbial fuel cell stacks. Journal of Power Sources, 272, 34-38.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 9, 2014
Publication Date Dec 25, 2014
Journal Journal of Power Sources
Print ISSN 0378-7753
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 272
Pages 34-38
Keywords MFC stack, capacitor charging, dynamic electrical reconfiguration, switch box, passive harvesting
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