Performance evaluation of power management systems in microbial fuel cell-based energy harvesting applications for driving small electronic devices

Daxing Zhang, Fan Yang, Tsutomu Shimotori, Kuang Ching Wang, Yong Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Power management system (PMS) is critical for driving electronic loads using energy harvested by microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Two promising MFC PMS designs, charge pump-capacitor-converter type and capacitor-transformer- converter type, are presented and compared in their performance in driving a wireless sensing system. It is found that the capacitor-transformer-converter type PMS can accommodate lower input voltages, but the charge pump-capacitor-converter type PMS has a slightly higher power efficiency. Furthermore, the charging speed of the capacitor-transformer-converter type PMS is not limited by the charge pump as in the charge pump-capacitor-converter type PMS, resulting in a shorter charging/discharging cycle. The findings suggest that for loads with large duty cycles comparable to the charging time, the charge pump-capacitor-converter type PMS is recommended for its higher power efficiency; on the other hand, for ultra-low MFC output and/or time-sensitive missions, the capacitor-transformer-converter type PMS is recommended for its wider input voltage range and shorter charging/discharging cycle. Highlights: Different power management systems (PMSs) for microbial fuel cells are evaluated. Charge pump-capacitor-converter type PMS has a higher power efficiency. Capacitor-transformer-converter type PMS has a shorter charging/discharging cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume217
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. David Freedman of Clemson University for technical advice, and Angela Allen of the Greenville Wastewater Treatment Plant for wasterwater use. D. Zhang acknowledges the support of the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities ( K50511040010 ).

Keywords

  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Power management system
  • Super-capacitor
  • Wireless sensor

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