Microbial Electrochemical Systems

This program elucidates the microorganisms and mechanisms that enable the direct conversion of chemical energy to electricity as part of a microbial electrochemical system (MES). Various applications are of interest, including benthic microbial fuel cells (MFC) for powering underwater sensors, and energy-efficient MES for shipboard wastewater treatment. To further advance capabilities of microbial power options, it is necessary to understand the microbial physiology, genetics and community interactions that modulate electron transfer through electrode biofilms. Note that this program is not interested in biomedical (in vivo or wearables) power applications, municipal wastewater or solid waste treatment.

Research Concentration Areas

  • Microbial Fuel Cells
  • Microbial Electrochemical Systems (for Shipboard Waste-to-Energy)

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Improved understanding of e-transport by electrogenic organisms/consortia to electrodes, to increase current/power densities
  • Methods to overcome depletion of organic “fuel” in sediment
  • Robust electrode materials, fabrication and configurations for deployment at a variety of water depths or vessel types
  • Strategies to minimize power and current losses during scale up to large MES (e.g., large area anodes)
  • Testing under a variety of environmental or wastewater feedstock conditions, geographic locations and water depths, and with relevant sensors and devices

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Linda Chrisey

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 342

Email for Questions: linda.chrisey@navy.mil

How to Submit

Submit white papers, QUAD charts and full proposals for contracts to this email address: ONR Code 34 Research Submissions

Follow instructions within BAA for submission of grant proposals to grants.gov website.

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