Electricity production by the application of a low voltage DC-DC boost converter to a continuously operating flat-plate microbial fuel cell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Young Eun Song
  • Hong Suck Kim
  • Byung Goon Kim
  • Taeho Lee
  • Byong Hun Jeon
  • Giuliano C. Premier
  • Jung Rae Kim

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Pusan National University
  • University of Glamorgan
  • K-water Institute
  • Hanyang University


An ultra-low voltage customized DC-DC booster circuit was developed using a LTC3108 converter, and used continuously on a flat-plate microbial fuel cell (FPM) system. The boost converter successfully stepped up the microbial fuel cell (MFC) voltage from ∼0.5 V to 3.3 and 5.0 V of outputs. The designed circuit and system displayed the dynamic variations of the source FPM as well as the output voltage through the designed three connection points within the booster circuit. The source MFC voltage was interrelated with the booster circuit and its performance, and it adapted to the set points of the booster dynamically. The maximum output power density of the MFC with the DC-DC booster circuit was 8.16 W/m3 compared to the maximum source FPM input power of 14.27 W/m3 at 100 Ω, showing a conversion efficiency of 26-57%, but with a 10-fold higher output than that of the source voltage. The combined LTC3108 with FPM supplied power for electronic devices using synthetic and real domestic wastewater. This report presents a promising strategy for utilizing the electrical energy produced from MFCs, and expands the applicability of bioelectrochemical systems with an improved energy efficiency of the present wastewater treatment system.


Original languageEnglish
Article number596
Number of pages16
Issue number5
Early online date29 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • DC-DC boost converter, Energy efficient wastewater treatment, LTC3108, Microbial fuel cell, Power quality