Microbial fuel cells harvest electrical energy produced by bacteria during the natural decomposition of organic matter. We report a micrometer-sized microbial fuel cell that is able to generate nanowatt-scale power from microliters of liquids. The sustainable design is comprised of a graphene anode, an air cathode, and a polymer-based substrate platform for flexibility. The graphene layer was grown on a nickel thin film by using chemical vapor deposition at atmospheric pressure. Our demonstration provides a low-cost option to generate useful power for lab-on-chip applications and could be promising to rapidly screen and scale up microbial fuel cells for water purification without consuming excessive power (unlike other water treatment technologies).
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Professor Bruce Logan at Pennsylvania State University for useful discussions, Professor Gary Amy at KAUST for laboratory use in the Water Desalination and Reuse Center, Daniah Assaadi, Mariyam Mahmud, and Shaiza Sinha from the KAUST schools for photographs. JEM acknowledges the GRP Collaborative Fellowship (GRP-CF-2011-03-S).