MFC User Manual

MFC User Manual
MFC-V1 – User Manual
BioVolt
MFC-V1 – User Manual
BioVolt
USER MANUAL
MFC-V1
Congratulations on becoming an owner of the MFC-V1 by
BioVolt. We at BioVolt have taken great care in making sure that
this product performs to your expectations.
The MFC-V1 has been designed by BioVolt to operate, with only
limited maintenance, for over 1 year.
It provides an
environmentally friendly sustainable power source which can be
used to fulfill a variety of small scale electrical needs.
With the MFC-V1 you can charge the battery on a medical device,
recharge your cell phone, or run LED lights to light up your house!
MFC-V1 – User Manual
Table of Contents
1 INTRODUCTION
2 INCLUDED WITH THE MFC-V1
2.1 BACTERIA
2.2 FEED MATERIALS
2.3 PARTS AND TOOLS
2.4 WARRANTY
3 ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, AND SAFETY
3.1 ENVIRONMENT
3.2 HEALTH
3.3 SAFETY
4 PRODUCT OVERVIEW
4.1 HOW IT WORKS
4.2 CELL LAYOUT
5 CARING FOR THE BACTERIA
5.1 HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
5.2 NUTRIENTS
6 GETTING STARTED
6.1 INITIAL SETUP
6.2 STARTING BACTERIAL GROWTH
7 GENERAL OPERATION
7.1 MEDIA RECIPE
7.2 BUFFER RECIPE
7.3 FEEDING THE BACTERIA
7.4 DISCARDING WASTE
8 MAINTENANCE
8.1 FILTER REPLACEMENT
8.2 BUFFER REPLACEMENT
9 TROUBLESHOOTING
10 GLOSSARY OF TERMS
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MFC-V1 – User Manual
BioVolt
1 INTRODUCTION
The MFC-V1 by BioVolt is a microbial fuel cell which has been
designed to produce enough power to light low power LED lights and charge
batteries for use in medical equipment, emergency cellular telephones, or
other electronic devices.
A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a “battery” which produces power using
a specific species of bacteria. This bacteria eats a specific food solution, called
the bacterial media, and produces electrical power which the MFC-V1
harnesses.
More information about your new MFC can be obtained by calling or
emailing BioVolt at:
1-800-BIOVOLT
[email protected]
or find us online at
biovolt.org
*NOTE: ALL CONTACT INFORMATION IS FOR DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES FOR
THIS DOCUMENT ONLY AND IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH BIOVOLT OR ANY OF
ITS TEAM MEMBERS.
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2 INCLUDED WITH THE MFC-V1
2.1 BACTERIA
The species of bacteria included with the MFC-V1 is called
Geobacter sulfurreducens. Proper care instructions are outlined in
5 CARING FOR THE BACTERIA.
2.2 FEED MATERIALS
•
•
•
•
•
•
Sodium Phosphate Monobasic
Sodium Phosphate Dibasic
Ammonium Chloride
Baking Soda (if requested)
Non-Iodized Salt (if requested)
White Vinegar (if requested)
2.3 PARTS AND TOOLS
•
•
•
12 replacement filters (Part #009)
1/8 inch hex key (Part #018)
Measuring spoons (if requested)
2.4 WARRANTY
If at any time within the first year of ownership you
experience any manufacturing default, you may send it back and
BioVolt will fix or replace it at no charge to you. Also, if at any time
the bacteria die of natural causes or your MFC-V1 ceases operation,
BioVolt will replace it at no cost (user pays shipping and handling
charges).
Modifications to this product, or operation of this product in
any way other than outlined in this manual, could void the
manufacturer’s warranty.
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3 ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, AND SAFETY
3.1 ENVIRONMENT
The operation of the MFC-V1 is environmentally friendly as
it is utilizing natural processes to create your power. The bacteria
waste is in two forms: the used liquid media and CO2 gas. A small
amount of CO2 is produced as the bacteria consume the nutrients, and
this gas waste is expelled from the anode chamber as you refill or
pump in new media. The used media that exits the chamber is only a
salt solution, and can be disposed of with no harm to the
environment.
3.2 HEALTH
Most of the ingredients in the media solution are kitchen
appropriate and pose no harm if handled or ingested. If consumed in
large quantities, patient may experience some discomfort. The
sodium phosphate and ammonium chloride are less common items,
but also pose no health threats due to exposure to the user.
Ammonium chloride and phosphate are noted as mild skin irritants
and the chloride is slightly acidic when dissolved in water, so should
be handled with care. Should you experience any irritation or
discomfort, wash area with soap and water. Seek medical attention if
further irritation develops. The MSDS sheets for these compounds
are included.
3.3 SAFETY
Care should be taken when working with any device that
carries an electrical charge. Proper care for connecting and
disconnecting an electrical device to the MFC-V1 should be taken.
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4 PRODUCT OVERVIEW
4.1 HOW IT WORKS
The MFC gets its electricity by harnessing the metabolism of
a certain type of bacteria, Geobacter sulfurreducens. This bacteria “eats”
the food solution, called the media in biological terms, and gives off
electrons as shown in Figure 1 below.
By continuing to feed the bacteria the prescribed media,
bacteria in the cell can grow and continue to produce electricity. The
bacteria are fed by filling the media storage chamber with fresh media
and injecting the new media into the anode chamber via the injection
pump system. Any waste media is then discarded out of the waste
stream.
MFC-V1 – User Manual
BioVolt
4.2 CELL LAYOUT
#003
#002
#001
Figure 2. Full cell cutaway with part numbers
#004
#005
#006
Figure 3. Cell end cap
#007
#001
#010
#006
Figure 1. Schematic showing the biology and operation of the MFC-V1
#008
#004
#009
Figure 4. Injection apparatus close-up view
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MFC-V1 – User Manual
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4.3 PARTS LIST
#015
#002
#012
#014
#013
#011
#008
Figure 5. Anode chamber close-up view
#017
#013
# 001 Media Storage Chamber
# 002 Anode Chamber
#003 Cathode Chamber
#004 Waste Outlet
#005 Level Indicator
#006 Injection Pump
#007 Media Storage Chamber Fill Cap
#008 Injection Hose
#009 Bacterial Filter
#010 Media Storage Chamber End Cap
#011 Anode Terminal
#012 Proton Exchange Membrane
#013 Graphite Electrodes
#014 Insulated Copper Wire
#015 Anode Fill Plug
#016 Cathode Terminal
#017 Cathode Chamber Fill Cap
#018 Drain Hex Key
#012
#014
#003
#016
Figure 6. Cathode chamber close-up view
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5 CARING FOR THE BACTERIA
5.1 HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Several simple steps are necessary for Geobacter sulfurreducens,
the bacteria used in the MFC-V1, to remain in peak health:
•
•
•
•
•
Always follow the media recipe accurately
Ensure only clean water is used in the MFC
Never leave the anode chamber open to air
Avoid exposure of the bacteria to direct sunlight
Follow all procedures outline in this manual
5.2 NUTRIENTS
The media solution has been specifically designed for the
optimal health of the bacteria as well as optimal power output. The
feed for the bacteria is vinegar, the main component of which is called
acetate. The bacteria digesting vinegar creates the power of the
MFC-V1.
Sodium phosphate acts as a phosphate source and ammonium
chloride acts as a nitrogen source to promote bacterial growth and
health.
Baking soda makes the media less acidic so that the bacteria is
able to survive in the media.
Table salt provides the bacteria with a source of sodium
which helps to promote bacterial health.
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6 GETTING STARTED
6.1 INITIAL SETUP
After receiving the cell follow the instructions for making
media given in 7.1 MEDIA RECIPE. Make a 3x batch of media to
initially fill the anode and media storage chamber. Fill the anode
chamber (Part #002) half full with media by removing the anode fill
plug (Part #015).
Add provided bacteria to cell. Fill the rest of the chamber
with media trying to leave as little air space as possible. Replace fill
plug. Fill the media storage chamber with the remaining media.
Inject media using the injection pump until some volume of waste is
removed with each pump.
Once the anode chamber is full, follow the instructions
outlined in 7.2 BUFFER RECIPE. Make one batch of buffer and add it
to the cathode cell (Part #003). Leave the cathode fill cap (Part
#017) off unless transporting the cell.
The MFC is now ready to begin the bacterial growth phase.
6.2 STARTING BACTERIAL GROWTH
Initial bacterial growth takes 12 days. Promote bacterial
growth by connecting the anode terminal (Part #011) to the cathode
terminal (Part #016) using a wire. Allow the cell to stand for 7 days
without feeding. After 7 days, inject 30 pumps of new media. Allow
cell to stand for another 5 days without feeding. After 5 days,
remove the wire connecting the terminals.
The MFC is now fully operational. Attach the positive and
negative terminals (Part #016 and Part #011) to the desired load and
begin operation under the procedure outlined in 7 GENERAL
OPERATION.
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7 GENERAL OPERATION
7.1 MEDIA RECIPE
For the media to serve as an acceptable food source for the bacteria it
must be made following these instructions:
1. Heat 1 liter of water to a boil
2. Let water cool to room temperature
3. Add:
1/4 teaspoon Ammonium Chloride
1/8 teaspoon Sodium Phosphate Monobasic
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
A pinch Non-Iodized Salt
4. Mix until all ingredients are dissolved
7.2 BUFFER RECIPE
The cathode buffer is prepared as the following recipe:
1. Measure 2 liters of water
2. Add 3/8 teaspoons of Dibasic Sodium Phosphate
7.3 FEEDING THE BACTERIA
Verify that the media in the media storage chamber (part
#001) is not cloudy. Cloudy media indicates that it has been
contaminated by other bacteria. If media is cloudy discard
immediately. Make sure the level indicator (Part #005) on the side
of the cell shows sufficient media in the media storage chamber.
Pump the media from the media storage chamber into the anode
chamber (Part #002) where the bacteria is growing using the
injection pump (Part #006).
The optimal injection rate is 5 pumps per day to maintain
adequate food levels. The bacteria can survive up to one week
without food before showing any adverse effects. If left unattended
for a number of days, inject all food which had been missed, in
addition to food for the current day (i.e. 10 pumps if 1 day missed, 25
pumps if 4 days missed).
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Verify that the cathode buffer is not cloudy. If it is, follow
the recipe outlined in 7.2 BUFFER RECIPE. Remove the cathode fill
cap (Part #017) and leave the cap off whenever possible.
7.4 DISCARDING WASTE
Discard all waste from the cell away from all water sources,
especially drinking water. Cell waste may be used for watering plants
or crops.
8 MAINTENANCE
8.1 FILTER REPLACEMENT
The bacterial filter (Part #009) keeps other species of
bacteria out of the cell and must be replaced at the beginning of each
month. This is done by removing the media storage chamber end cap
of the cell (Part #010). Removal of the cap will expose three hoses
as well as the filter mechanism. Pull the hose off both sides of the
used filter. Insert the new filter into the hose and replace end cap.
8.2 BUFFER REPLACEMENT
The buffer in the cathode chamber should be replaced
monthly, or when it appears very cloudy. Drain the old buffer out of
the cathode drain by unscrewing the drain at the bottom of the
cathode chamber using the supplied hex key (Part #018). When the
chamber is empty replace the cathode drain. Prepare new buffer
following the recipe outlined in 7.4 BUFFER RECIPE. Fill the cathode
chamber with buffer halfway up the neck of the fill cap to the fill line.
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MFC-V1 – User Manual
BioVolt
9 TROUBLESHOOTING
11 GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Problem: The injection pump is very difficult to press or injects no fluid.
Solution: The bacterial filter may be blocked. Replace the filter.
ammonium chloride – an ingredient in the media
anode – the negative terminal or side of a battery or fuel cell
bacterial media – the food solution for the bacteria
baking soda – an ingredient in the media
buffer – any solution which resists changes in pH
cathode – the positive terminal or side of a battery or fuel cell
cutaway – a view where some of the structure is removed to reveal
previously unseen parts
dibasic sodium phosphate – see sodium phosphate
dissolved – no visible solids remain in a liquid
hex key – a hexagonally shaped piece of metal bent at a right angle. Used for
turning screws and bolts.
LED – stands for light emitting diode. A highly efficient form of lighting.
load – the device or object to be powered
media – see bacterial media
media storage chamber – chamber in the MFC-V1 for storing media
before it is pumped into the anode
MFC – see microbial fuel cell
MFC-V1 – the microbial fuel cell you own
microbial fuel cell – a type of fuel cell which uses the metabolism of
bacteria to create electrical current
non-iodized table salt – an ingredient in the media
sodium phosphate – an ingredient in the buffer solution and media
solution.
table salt – see non-iodized table salt
white vinegar – an ingredient in the media
Problem: The injection pump injects only air.
Solution: There may not be enough media in the media storage chamber.
Check the level indicator and add media as necessary.
Problem: The MFC does not produce any power.
Solution: There may be a loose connection on one of the terminals. Tighten
all connections and retry.
Problem: The MFC still is not producing any power.
Solution: Feed the bacteria 50 pumps of media using the injection pump.
Problem: The media in the media storage chamber is very cloudy.
Solution: It has other species of bacteria growing in it. Dump and refill.
Problem: I ran out of some ingredients.
Solution: Order all supplies from BioVolt online at biovolt.org or over the
phone at 1-800-BioVolt.
Problem: Any problems we were unable to answer here?
Solution: Call BioVolt Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM (GMT – 05:00)
Eastern Time (US & Canada) and one of our trained technicians will assist
you.
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