Electricity from Waste & Water Quality Monitoring with Biological Fuel Cells
Biological fuel cells (BFCs) are electrochemical devices that convert biochemical energy into electrical energy through the action of electroactive bacteria (electrigens). This bioenergy-conversion technology could uses as fuel any sort of organic matter contained in wastewaters from municipal, industrial and agricultural sources. The BFC technology can also be used to detect biologically active compounds in water. The electricity generated by BFCs is in fact strictly related to the metabolic activity of the electrigens. If the feeding water contains a toxicant, the metabolism and growth of these bacteria is compromised, with consequent changes in the output current. The advantages of BFCs over biosensors rely on their simplicity, cost-effectiveness and possibility to operate infield and continuously.
Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo is a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering since July 2011. She graduated in Chemical engineering in 2003 at the University of Naples Federico II (Italy) and carried out a PhD in Biotechnology at the University of Greifswald (Germany). Afterwards, she had two post-doctoral experiences, one as Marie Curie Fellow at Newcastle University (UK) and the other in the Nanotechnology Research Centre of Lecce (Italy). Mirella’s research interest regards the development of innovative electrochemical devices to: power portable devices with wastewater; power implantable devices with sugars naturally present in blood; monitor water quality.