BIOCHEMICAL FUEL CELLS.
Rept. no. 11 (final) for 1 Jul 62-31 Mar 65,
MAGNA CORP ANAHEIM CALIF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT DIV
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A summary of the first three years of an investigation into biochemical fuel cells is presented. The systems investigated included the hydrogen producers Clostridium butyricum and Escherichia coli the ammonia producers Bacillus pasteurii, urease and L-amino acid oxidase and the formic acid producers Aeromonas formicans and Escherichia coli. The effects of temperature, pH, ionic strength and substrate on the rate of production of these fuels are reported. Electrochemical studies of the fuels were made under conditions compatible with their production. Formic acid proved to be the best choice. Current densities up to about 40 mAsq. cm were obtained with this fuel. Formic acid was produced in practical quantities from sugar, coconut juice, fruit juices and extracts of yams. A biochemical battery operating on coconut juice was used to operate a transistor radio intermittently over 45 days for a total of 50 hours. The coulombic efficiency of the cell approached 100 of the formic acid produced. Author