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Microbial fuel cells as power supply of a low-power temperature sensor

Abstract : Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) show great promise as a concomitant process for water treatment and as renewable energy sources for environmental sensors. The small energy produced by MFCs and the low output voltage limit the applications of MFCs. Specific converter topologies are required to step-up the output voltage of a MFC. A Power Management Unit (PMU) is proposed for operation at low input voltage and at very low power in a completely autonomous way to capture energy from MFCs with the highest possible efficiency. The application of sensors for monitoring systems in remote locations is an important approach. MFCs could be an alternative energy source in this case. Powering a sensor with MFCs may prove the fact that wastewater may be partly turned into renewable energy for realistic applications. The Power Management Unit is demonstrated for 3.6 V output voltage at 1 mW continuous power, based on a low-cost 0.7-L MFC. A temperature sensor may operate continuously on 2-MFCs in continuous flow mode. A flyback converter under discontinuous conduction mode is also tested to power the sensor. One continuously fed MFC was able to efficiently and continuously power the sensor.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 3:13:02 PM
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Firas Khaled, Olivier Ondel, Bruno Allard. Microbial fuel cells as power supply of a low-power temperature sensor. Journal of Power Sources, Elsevier, 2016, 306, pp.354 - 360. ⟨10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.12.040⟩. ⟨hal-01388127⟩



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