The current Philippine energy crisis reminds us of the importance of finding alternative energy sources. Microbial fuel cells (MFC) may contribute to the solution. MFCs utilizing marine sediments, rice straw, domestic sewage, and agricultural water have a large potential as an alternative energy source. The objectives of the project were to isolate the biological agent, determine the optimum waste substrates, and to develop a working microbial fuel cell using locally available materials as fuel source. Soil, sediment, and corn stover were collected. An improvised MFC was constructed with two compartments for the anode and cathode sections separated by an agar plug (5% w/v). Each compartment had 750 ml capacities. Several combinations of materials were determined. Triplicates of each material-isolate combination were used to determine voltage, amperage, and Columbic output. Thirty percent fish farm sediments produced the highest voltage and amperage. This treatment was able to produce power for 7 to 25 days after MFC setup. Addition of ammonium sulfate in this setup reduced electrical output. Other treatments also produced power but were not as comparable. This study showed that utilizing wastes as substrate for MFCs is feasible and may have practical use.
Keywords: Microbial fuel cell, Enterobacter cloacae, waste utilization