High performance paper-based microbial fuel cells using nanostructured polymers

M. Mohammadifar, J. Zhang, I. Yazgan, V. Kariuki, O. Sadik, S. Choi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


In this work, we report paper-based microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that produce high power and current densities from one drop of bacteria-containing liquid. The devices feature (i) a simple and versatile fabrication technique by using paper as a substrate and (ii) an exceptional performance by incorporating novel nanostructured polymers, PAA-Poly (amic) acid) and PPDD-Poly(pyromellitic dianhydride-p-phenylene diamine), into the paper substrate. Four 3-D MFC configurations were designed by using different numbers of 2-D sheets of paper layers. Each device integrated four functional compartments (i.e. anode, reservoir, proton exchange membrane, and air-cathode) into one, two, three or four paper layers, respectively. The nanostructured polymers were engineered as a proton exchange membrane to enhance ion traveling efficiency or an oxygen mitigating layer to prevent diverting electrons away from the anode. Among the four MFC devices with different numbers of layers, two-layer paper-based MFC generated the highest current density of 47UA/cm2 and power density of 4UW/cm2, both of which are substantially greater than achieved by previous paper-based MFCs and even comparable to that of conventional micro-sale counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE Sensors, SENSORS 2016 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479982875
StatePublished - Jan 5 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event15th IEEE Sensors Conference, SENSORS 2016 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Oct 30 2016Nov 2 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Sensors
ISSN (Print)1930-0395
ISSN (Electronic)2168-9229


Conference15th IEEE Sensors Conference, SENSORS 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • disposable biobatteries
  • microbial fuel cells
  • nanostructured polymers
  • paper-based batteries


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