Date of Completion


Embargo Period



John Chandy, Mohammed Tehranipoor

Field of Study

Electrical Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Microbial fuel cells (MFC) are one of the most important renewable energy system for some underwater electronic devices and sensors; however, the MFC system does not have robustness and stability in the harsh ocean environment. One of the MFC components, the anode, must be isolated from any oxygen penetration. If oxygen enters in the anode, the electrons in the anode are consumed by it, and this compromises any voltage difference between the cathode and anode. The system then becomes impaired and ceases to function. This is inevitable in the water; therefore, using amulti-anode marine sediment MFC system is one possible solution that will allow the system to maintain its robustness and stability in the environment. In addition, using a multi-anode SMFC system can result in increased power and current densities.

MFC systems generate a low voltage, at which underwater sensor networks for aquatic exploration do not operate, and they do not provide sufficient power to operate electronic devices and sensors underwater. They require an interface circuit to boost the output voltage to a level high enough to power any underwater electronic devices. Therefore, applying a power management circuit is the best way to manage the energy.

This thesis presents a multi-anode marine sediment MFC system and its decoupling circuit. The decoupling circuit can lead the problem locally and prevent the whole system from becoming impaired. The circuit automatically decides whether the anode is impaired or not, and if so, the system disconnects it. The decoupling circuit is also one a component of the power management system (PMS). Moreover, this thesis introduces a design for a power management system, which is totally self-powered and does not require an external power supply. The system has been tested and proven with experimental results, which show that the multi-anode PMS performs better than a single-anode one. The PMS can be powered to the load every 0.3 hours.

Major Advisor

Lei Wang