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Algal-Alginate Films for Photovoltaics, Carbon Dioxide Reduction and Oxygen Production



This technology is a photosynthetically active algae immobilized in alginate gel within a fuel cell design for generations of bioelectricity. The algal-alginate biofilm was utilized within a biophotovoltaics (BPV) device developed for direct bioelectricity generation from photosynthesis. A peak power output of 0.289 mWm−2 with an increase of 18% in power output compared to conventional suspension culture BPV device was observed. The increase in maximum power density was correlated to the maximum relative electron transport rate (rETRm). The semi-dry type of photosynthetically active biofilm proposed in this work may offer significantly improved performances in terms of fuel cell design, bioelectricity generation, oxygen production, and CO2 reduction.

The advantages:

  • An attractive technique to restrict the freedom of movement of algal cells in an aqueous medium by entrapping them in a solid matrix because of their low toxicity and high transparency. 
  • Carbon paper-based BPV generated higher compared to ITO based BPV with a peak power output of 0.403 mWm2, increase in efficiency of 39 %
  • Live algae cells function as an electron donor. 
  • Divide, form colonies
  • Better connectivity, between cells, faster electron transport, power output increased.
  • 16 times higher that reported for Algal BPV with 0.024 mWm2 (Inglesby et al., 2013) Inglesby AE, Yunus K, Fisher AC (2013). In situ fluorescence and electrochemical monitoring of a photosynthetic microbial fuel cell. Phys Chem 15: 6903-6911.

Get the technology fact sheet here:

For any inquiries, kindly contact:

Lee Ching Shya

UMCIC Business Officer University of Malaya

Email: leecs@um.edu.my

Tel: +603-7967-7351/7352


Last Updated: 29/04/2019