Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 9-30-1986

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Teddy Greenstein

Second Advisor

David S. Kristol

Third Advisor

Dimitrios P. Tassios


A batch biochemical-fuel cell was constructed and studies on the production of bioelectric energy using an alga Scenesdesmus quadricauda, and a bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, were conducted. Results were compared for a steady state cell using various concentrations of media components and showed that a 1000-fold increase in the concentration of media components produced a net potential output of 0.03mv/ml compared to an initial output of 0.02mv/ml. Further studies showed the biochemical net potential output using activated sludge from a waste treatment facility was 0.01mv/ml compared to 0.02mv/ml for the cell using the initial media concentration.

The system exhibited steady state conditions within 8 to 10 hours of inoculation. Output remained fairly constant for a period of 14 hours and then decreased. The specified methods were carefully duplicated for each experiment including the sterilization of equipment, accurate weighing of raw materials, and monitoring of temperature. Thus the output potential recorded was based on the fuel cell volume, biological activity of the micro-organisms and the media component concentrations.

The activated sludge fuel cell is a viable one even with a reduced output of 0.01mv/ml.



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