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Waste made useful using Microbial Fuel Cells: bioenergy for practical applications

Dr. Ioannis A. Ieropoulos

Bristol Robotics Laboratory, England

 

Abstract

The development of the microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology has seen an enormous growth over the last hundred years since its inception by Potter in 1911. The highest level of activity has been recorded over the last decade and it is perhaps considered commonplace that MFCs are primarily suitable for stationary, passive wastewater treatment applications. Sceptics have certainly not considered MFCs as serious contenders in the race for developing renewable energy technologies. Yet this is the only type of alternative system that can convert organic waste—widely distributed around the globe—directly into electricity, and therefore, the only technology that will allow artificial agents to autonomously operate in a plethora of environments. This talk will focus on the implementation of MFCs in real life practical applications and furthermore, demonstrate how pursuing practical (e.g. robotic) applications can provide insights of the core MFC technology in general.

Biographical Information
Ioannis A. Ieropoulos is the Theme Leader for Bioenergy & Self-Sustainable Systems at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellow. He produced EcoBots I and II for his PhD, and EcoBot-III as part of an EU FP-6 programme, which together are the world’s first examples of self-sustainable robots, utilising waste and biomass. For the last 10 years he has been working on autonomous robotics and further improving the MFC technology for the utilisation of waste into energy. Currently he leads the “Urine-tricity” project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the “Decomposing robots” project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
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