Single microfluidic fuel cell with three fuels – formic acid, glucose and microbes: A comparative performance investigation

Original scientific paper

  • Jayapiriya Umarani Sivakumar Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India
  • Lanka Tata Rao Department of Mechanical Engineering, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India and MEMS, Microfluidics and Nanoelectronics Lab, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India
  • Prakash Rewatkar Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India and MEMS, Microfluidics and Nanoelectronics Lab, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India
  • Haroon Khan School of Mechanical Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 41566, South Korea
  • Satish Kumar Dubey Department of Mechanical Engineering, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India and MEMS, Microfluidics and Nanoelectronics Lab, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India
  • Arshad Javed Department of Mechanical Engineering, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India and MEMS, Microfluidics and Nanoelectronics Lab, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India
  • Gyu Man Kim School of Mechanical Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 41566, South
  • Sanket Goel Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India and MEMS, Microfluidics and Nanoelectronics Lab, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, 500078, India http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9739-4178
Keywords: electrocatalysis, biocatalysis, chemical fuel, biofuel, portable devices
Graphical Abstract

Abstract

The development of microfluidic and nanofluidic devices is gaining remarkable attention due to the emphasis put on miniaturization of conventional energy conversion and storage processes. A microfluidic fuel cell can integrate flow of electrolytes, electrode-electrolyte interactions, and power generation in a microfluidic channel. Such microfluidic fuel cells can be categorized on the basis of electrolytes and catalysts used for power generation. In this work, for the first time, a single microfluidic fuel cell was harnessed by using different fuels like glucose, microbes and formic acid. Herein, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) acted as electrode material, and performance investigations were carried out separately on the same microfluidic device for three different types of fuel cells (formic acid, microbial and enzymatic). The fabricated miniaturized microfluidic device was successfully used to harvest energy in microwatts from formic acid, microbes and glucose, without any metallic catalyst. The developed microfluidic fuel cells can maintain stable open-circuit voltage, which can be used for energizing various low-power portable devices or applications.

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Published
05-10-2021
Section
Bioelectrochemistry & Fuel Cells