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Title: Bio-photo-voltaic cells (photosynthetic-microbial fuel cells)
Author: Thorne, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 1313
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2012
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Photosynthetic Microbial Fuel Cell (p-MFC) research aims to develop devices containing photosynthetic micro-organisms to produce electricity. Micro-organisms within the device photosynthesise carbohydrates under illumination, and produce reductive equivalents (excess electrons) from both carbohydrate production and the subsequent carbohydrate break down. Redox mediators are utilised to shuttle electrons between the organism and the electrode. The mediator is reduced by the micro-organism and subsequently re-oxidised at the electrode. However this technology is in its early stages and extensive research is required for p-MFC devices to become economically viable. A basic p-MFC device containing a potassium ferricyanide mediator and the algae Chlorella vulgaris was assembled and tested. From these initial experiments it was realised that much more work was required to characterise cell and redox mediator activities occurring within the device. There is very little p-MFC literature dealing with cellular interaction with redox mediators, but without this knowledge the output of complete p-MFC devices can not be fully understood. This thesis presents research into the reduction of redox mediators by the micro-organisms, including rates of mediator reduction and factors affecting the rate. Both electrochemical and non-electrochemical techniques are used and results compared. Additionally, cellular effects relating to the presence of the mediator are studied; crucial to provide limits within which p-MFCs must be used. After basic characterisation, this thesis presents work into the optimisation of the basic p-MFC. Different redox mediators, photosynthetic species and anodic materials are investigated. Importantly, it is only through fundamental characterization to improve understanding that p-MFCs can be optimised.
Supervisor: Cameron, Petra ; Peter, Laurence ; Dent, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: bio-photo-voltaic cells ; photosynthetic microbial fuel cells ; algae ; electrochemistry