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Journal of Power Sources
Vol. 293
, 2015, Pages: 467–474

A hermetic self-sustained microbial solar cell based on Chlorella vulgaris and a versatile charge transfer chain

Keliang Pan, Peijiang Zhou

School of Resource and Environmental Science, Hubei Biomass-Resource Chemistry and Environmental Biotechnology Key Laboratory, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, PR China.


A hermetic noble-metal-free membrane-less microbial solar cell (MSC) is established. The substances decomposition and regeneration in this MSC are carried out only byChlorella vulgaris simultaneously. The conversion of metabolism types of C. vulgaris is controlled only by illumination. By using a pleiotropic redox mediator and a cupric hexacyanoferrate modified cathode, a two-phase three-stage charge transfer chain is formed. Through this pathway, the one microorganism self-sustained system gets a long-term power output up to 0.04773 mW/cm2 at 0.423 V without any material exchange with external, which is 50 times higher than that obtained from the original system. Benefiting from this electron buffer system, the battery will achieve an electricity generation in both light and dark conditions. There is almost no consumption of any substrates throughout the stabilized process, and no more additions are required. This maintenance-free and extremely inexpensive reactor with a simple structure and a long service life demonstrates the possibility of combining the microbial, chemical and photo cells.

Keywords: Microbial fuel cells; Redox mediator; Biocatalyst; Riboflavin; Electron transfer; Chlorella vulgaris.

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