Greener Journal of Biological Sciences

Open Access

Greener Journal of  Biological Sciences Vol. 3 (2), pp. 074-083, February 2013.

 © 2011 Greener Journals

Research Paper

Manuscript Number:120112309


Effect of Sodium Alginate on Proton Conductivity of Cassava Starch in a Microbial Fuel Cell


*Livinus A. Obasi, Charles C. Opara, Ken Okpala and Akuma Oji


Department Of Chemical Engineering, University Of Port Harcourt, Choba, PMB 5323, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.


*Corresponding Author’s E-mail: manlevi77 @


Our previous research has shown that cassava starch can function as a proton exchange membrane in a Microbial Fuel Cell, MFC. This study further examines the effect of sodium alginate, (NaC6H7O6)n , on the proton conductivity of cassava starch in a dual chamber microbial fuel cell using two cell set-ups operating at room temperature (27±30C). The performance of MFC-1 with unmodified pure starch PEM showed a maximum power density of 45.69mWm-2 with overall coulombic efficiency of 8.70% after a ten day useful life. MFC-2 containing starch PEM modified with sodium alginate produced a maximum power density of 648.51mWm-2, with overall coulombic efficiency of 18.93% and COD removal efficiency of 72.8% over a 20 day study period. It was thus observed that the cell whose PEM was modified with sodium alginate showed a tremendous increase of over 100% power density generated with longer useful life than in the case of the unmodified form. Hence by this way, power production in MFCs could be improved in a more sustainable manner at a cheaper operating cost. 

Keywords: Bioelectricity; Microbial fuel cell; Cassava starch; Proton Exchange Membrane; sodium alginate.

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