Does anyone know of a step by step guide to building a microbial fuel cell? Could someone here on Chem SE possibly provide one? I am looking for something like THIS but for the whole fuel cell and not just the cathode.

Descriptive papers on the topic would be helpful also.


2 Answers 2


You can watch YouTube video.

enter image description here


  • 2 1l Plastic Containers
  • Cotton rope
  • Aluminum mesh
  • Paper clips
  • Copper wire
  • Alligator clips
  • Electrical tape
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Aquarium air pump
  • Duct tape
  • Sludge
  • Hand spade
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Small Pot
  • Spoon
  • Voltmeter
  • Drill gun


  1. Collect sludge from the bottom of a still creek or pond into a bucket. Such a source will most likely have plenty of anaerobic bacteria.

  2. Drill one hole for copper wire on lids of containers. On one of the two lids, drill one hole for the air pump tube and one small hole for ventilation (this will not be sealed). Drill one hole on one side to both containers for salt bridge.

  3. Prepare the electrodes. Fold aluminum mesh a few times over and bind with large paper clips. Strip ends off of copper wire and attach to both electrodes.

  4. Insert copper wire and air pump tube into drilled holes on lids. Seal with hot glue or caulk.

  5. Prepare the salt bridge. Heat water over stovetop and dissolve in as much salt as possible. Twist a long rope around itself to create a thicker rope. If necessary, cut the rope to approx. 15 cm. Soak the rope in the salt water. Once damp, wrap the rope in one layer of electrical tape and one of duct tape, but keep the ends exposed.

  6. Insert each end of the salt bridge into the drilled holes on the sides of the containers. Seal with hot glue or caulk and extra tape (as needed).

  7. Fill one container almost to the rim with sludge and the other with water.

  8. Submerge the electrodes into the sludge and water. Close the lids of the containers, and make sure the one over the sludge is airtight.

  9. Anaerobic bacteria should be exposed to as little oxygen as possible.

  10. Attach alligator clips to each loose end of copper wire. Clamp the alligator clips onto the voltmeter probes. Make sure the red probe is attached electrically to the electrode in the water. The black probe should connect to the electrode submerged in the sludge.

  11. Turn on the aquarium air pump.

  12. Turn the dial on the voltmeter to 20 VDC (can also be marked by the symbol, ) to measure the force of electricity moving through the circuit in terms of volts. Turn the dial to 2000m to measure it in terms of millivolts, a thousandth of a volt, to observe a more accurate reading.

  13. Turn the dial to 10A. This number is the flow of current the microbial fuel cell is generating, measured in amps.



Here this might help http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Energy_p026.shtml#materials But you might want to use different electrodes.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Chemistry.SE! For formatting help visit the help center and for more information about this page, take the tour. Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 2:32

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