IRIS Regional Level Winner Project – ‘The Power bank of the Mithi River’
MICROBIAL FUEL CELL
The river Mithi flowing next to our school building has always concerned us for its very high level of pollution. We aimed to create electricity from the breakdown of organic waste by anaerobic bacteria present in Mithi sludge.
A microbial fuel cell was created using two electrode containers and an external circuit. The anode holds the sludge and the cathode holds the tap water. A salt bridge was prepared and passed through a tube connecting them. A multi-meter attached to the copper wires on either sides by alligator clips completed the circuit. An oxygen pump was connected to the water container using a pipe. The lids of both containers remained covered .The power generated using 2 kilograms of sludge was recorded in volts over a period of 5 days. 0.07 volts of electricity was recorded at the start of the experiment. A maximum of 0.37 volts was recorded on day 3. Anaerobic bacteria in the sludge digests the organic waste and create electrons. These electrons move out of the solution through the electrodes and pass through the external circuit generating electricity. Over time more power is produced.
We conclude from this experiment that a Microbial Fuel Cell uses anaerobic bacteria which naturally carry out electrochemical process creating electricity. Instead of burning fossil fuels and increasing the risk of global warming, Mumbai can gain power from sludge. This will also reduce river water pollution. This mechanism can be used in water treatment plant along with cleaning dirty water.