STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) 1 is aa intense research-based course where in addition to learning skills relating to scientific and technical writing and research, students also complete a 6-month long independent research project in an area of their choice and present it at the school-wide Science Fair in February. Students then have the opportunity to complete in additional fairs such as WRSEF, MSEF, and ISEF. Throughout the course, skills such as giving presentations (a major part of the course, especially in groups) and writing and reading scientific literature are practiced. Concurrent to their usage in the science fair projects, topics such as systems diagrams, design matrices, and statistics are also taught.
Advisor: Dr. Kevin Crowthers
The goal of this project is to optimize power density in PMFCs by increasing soil conductivity through the addition of electrolytes to decrease internal resistance. PMFCs are a type of self-sustaining fuel cell technology in which through rhizodeposition plants naturally deposit nutrients into soil which bacteria then metabolize into electrons which the device harvests to generate electricity. However, their current electricity density, around 679 mW/sq. m, is too low for commercialization. In this study, four identical PMFCs were constructed with varying amounts of the electrolyte potassium chloride (KCl).Data trends provide some evidence that as the concentration of KCl in a PMFC increases, so does the resulting electricity generation but also indicates the possibility of a maximum threshold. The maximum power recorded was 220 mW.
Plant Microbial Fuel Cells do not currently generate enough electricity to be commercially viable.
The goal of this project is to optimize electricity generation in plant microbial fuel cells by increasing soil conductivity through the addition of electrolytes.
As the concentration of KCl in plant microbial fuel cells increases, so does the resulting power density.