Fade to Green: A Biodegradable Stack of Microbial Fuel Cells

Jonathan Winfield, Lily Chambers, Jonathan Rossiter, Andrew Stinchcombe, X. Alexis Walter, John Greenman, Ioannis Ieropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The focus of this study is the development of biodegradable microbial fuel cells (MFCs) able to produce useful power. Reactors with an 8 mL chamber volume were designed using all biodegradable products: polylactic acid for the frames, natural rubber as the cation-exchange membrane and egg-based, open-to-air cathodes coated with a lanolin gas diffusion layer. Forty MFCs were operated in various configurations. When fed with urine, the biodegradable stack was able to power appliances and was still operational after six months. One useful application for this truly sustainable MFC technology includes onboard power supplies for biodegradable robotic systems. After operation in remote ecological locations, these could degrade harmlessly into the surroundings to leave no trace when the mission is complete.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date16 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


  • energy conversion
  • fuel cells
  • green chemistry
  • materials science
  • renewable resources

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