1. Abstract

Emulating LIVING organisms in the production of ENERGY: self-sufficient photomicrobial cells for the production of electricity using SUN energy


This project aims at developing a technology to produce of electricity directly from Sun and that also attains carbon fixation using a combination biotechnological and electrochemical processes based on the concept of microbial fuel cells. The energy device can be understood as a photomicrobial cell (PMC) by comparison with photovoltaic cells (PVC), being the key difference that, in this proposal, electricity is not obtained using a light-excited semiconducting material but a synergistic interaction of several microbial and electrochemical processes. Its development can be understood as the fundamental of a new, robust and low-cost technology to use Sun energy. It tries to emulate the mechanisms of the living beings that most efficiently use Sun energy (plants and algae), integrating in the same device microbial (bioelectrogenic microorganisms and algae) and electrochemical (fuel cells) components. These elements are robust when single-handedly used. In case of success in the development of the concept, it would mean a change in the paradigm of energy transformation. In addition, if results are good enough in the scale-up to miniaturization and modularization, and the energy obtained is enough to feed commercial devices, it could contribute to the sustainability of the energetic system. With this project we aim to develop all elements in an optimized way, integrate them into a prototype which could be used as a scalable proof of concept and test the system in a simple but representative utility: the substitution of the PVC technology by PMC technology in the electric feeding of garden lights