Electrochemical Characterisation of Bio-Bottle-Voltaic (BBV) Systems Operated with Algae and Built with Recycled Materials.
Photobioelectrochemical systems are an emerging possibility for renewable energy. By exploiting photosynthesis, they transform the energy of light into electricity. This study evaluates a simple, scalable bioelectrochemical system built from recycled plastic bottles, equipped with an anode made from recycled aluminum, and operated with the green alga Chlorella sorokiniana. We tested whether such a system, referred to as a bio-bottle-voltaic (BBV) device, could operate outdoors for a prolonged time period of 35 days. Electrochemical characterisation was conducted by measuring the drop in potential between the anode and the cathode, and this value was used to calculate the rate of charge accumulation. The BBV systems were initially able to deliver ~500 mC·bottle−1·day−1, which increased throughout the experimental run to a maximum of ~2000 mC·bottle−1·day−1. The electrical output was consistently and significantly higher than that of the abiotic BBV system operated without algal cells (~100 mC·bottle−1·day−1). The analysis of the rate of algal biomass accumulation supported the hypothesis that harvesting a proportion of electrons from the algal cells does not significantly perturb the rate of algal growth. Our finding demonstrates that bioelectrochemical systems can be built using recycled components. Prototypes of these systems have been displayed in public events; they could serve as educational toolkits in schools and could also offer a solution for powering low-energy devices off-grid.
European Commission (317184)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/L013789/1)