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Voltage balancing strategies for serial connection of microbial fuel cells

Abstract : The microbial fuel cell (MFC) converts electrochemically organic matter into electricity by means of metabolisms of bacteria. The MFC power output is limited by low voltage and low current characteristics in the range of microwatts or milliwatts per litre. In order to produce a sufficient voltage level (>1.5 V) and sufficient power to supply real applications such as autonomous sensors, it is necessary to either scale-up one single unit or to connect multiple units together. Many topologies of connection are possible as the serial association to improve the output voltage, or the parallel connection to improve the output current or the series/parallel connection to step-up both voltage and current. The association of MFCs in series is a solution to increase the voltage to an acceptable value and to mutualize the unit’s output power. The serial association of a large number of MFCs presents several issues. The first one is the hydraulic coupling among MFCs when they share the same substrate. The second one is the dispersion between generators that lead to a non-optimal stack efficiency because the maximum power point (MPP) operation of all MFCs is not permitted. Voltage balancing is a solution to compensate non-uniformities towards MPP. This paper presents solutions to improve the efficiency of a stack of serially connected MFCs through a voltage-balancing circuit.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01388114
Contributor : Publications Ampère <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 3:00:10 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 2:44:23 PM

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Firas Khaled, Olivier Ondel, Bruno Allard, François Buret. Voltage balancing strategies for serial connection of microbial fuel cells. European Physical Journal: Applied Physics, EDP Sciences, 2015, 71 (1), ⟨10.1051/epjap/2015150044⟩. ⟨hal-01388114⟩

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