Development of a microbial fuel cell for the provision of low cost lighting and smart irrigation in Uganda's rural areas.
Akwehaire, Jackson Barongo
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Two billion people worldwide use kerosene burning lamps household lighting. The negative impacts of kerosene lamps (Tadooba, in Buganda) for lighting are well documented, including the release of toxins during combustion, contribution to upper respiratory disease, and safety concerns such as fire hazards and accidental ingestion. Distributed energy micro generation technologies can contribute significantly to providing energy access to the rural poor. These systems can have lower life cycle cost and provide a diversity of technologies to meet specific energy end‐use applications in developing communities more appropriately. During this project we designed and implemented a microbial microbial fuel cell that can power up 9 LEDs of a DC bulb and also run a smart irrigation scheme. The fuel cell will be implemented using materials that can be easily obtained in Uganda’s rural areas with emphasis placed on the possibility of recycling household and community waste. The design of the fuel cell will also be one that is easy to construct such that people without school knowledge can be trained and be able to build it easily. It will also be implemented in villages using dung pits that can be easily refilled since most farmers have cattle that can be a source of the feeds. In the implementation of the project, we studied different parameters that include Electrode material, size of fuel cell and electrodes, and also different feeds for the bacteria. From these studies, we were able to design a fuel cell that gave us optimum voltage and current. We then stacked several cells to light the bulb and run the smart irrigation.