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Sustainability 2014, 6, 7263-7275; doi:10.3390/su6107263
Wireless Sensor Network Powered by a Terrestrial Microbial
Fuel Cell as a Sustainable Land Monitoring Energy System
Andrea Pietrelli 1, Andrea Micangeli 2,3,*, Vincenzo Ferrara 1 and Alessandro Raffi 3
1 Department of Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications (DIET),
Sapienza University of Rome, Via Eudossiana 18, Rome 00184, Italy;
E-Mails: email@example.com (A.P.); firstname.lastname@example.org (V.F.)
2 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome,
Via Eudossiana 18, Rome 00184, Italy
3 Interuniversity Research Center on Sustainable Development (CIRPS), Sapienza University of
Rome, Via Cavour 256, Rome 00184, Italy; E-Mail: email@example.com
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Tel.: +39-338-815-3787; Fax: +39-06-8745-2050.
External Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 31 July 2014; in revised form: 25 September 2014 / Accepted: 26 September 2014 /
Published: 22 October 2014
Abstract: This work aims at investigating the possibility of a wireless sensor network
powered by an energy harvesting technology, such as a microbial fuel cell (MFC). An MFC
is a bioreactor that transforms energy stored in chemical bonds of organic compounds into
electrical energy. This process takes place through catalytic reactions of microorganisms under
anaerobic conditions. An anode chamber together with a cathode chamber composes a
conventional MFC reactor. The protons generated in the anode chamber are then transferred
into the cathode chamber through a proton exchange membrane (PEM). A possible option is
to use the soil itself as the membrane. In this case, we are referring to, more properly, a
terrestrial microbial fuel cell (TMFC). This research examines the sustainability of a wireless
sensor network powered by TMFC for land monitoring and precision agriculture. Acting on
several factors, such as pH, temperature, humidity and type of soil used, we obtained
minimum performance requirements in terms of the output power of the TMFC. In order to
identify some of the different network node configurations and to compare the resulting
performance, we investigated the energy consumption of the core components of a node,
e.g., the transceiver and microcontroller, looking for the best performance.
Sustainability 2014, 6 7264
Keywords: energy harvesting; microbial fuel cell; land monitoring; precision agriculture;
This research investigates the possibility of a wireless sensor network powered by terrestrial microbial
fuel cells (TMFCs)  for land monitoring and for precision agriculture.
The work examines the sustainability of a sensor network powered by TMFCs. These network nodes
are distributed throughout an area, for monitoring the territory, and are an alternative to remote sensing
systems. At first, we will obtain minimum performance requirements in terms of the output power of a
TMFC, acting on several factors, such as pH, temperature, humidity and type of soil used, and then, we
will try to search for a better configuration for a single node. In order to identify some of the different
network node configurations and to compare the resulting performance, we investigated the energy
consumption of the core components of a node, e.g., transceiver and microcontroller, looking for the
1.1. Microbial Fuel Cell
The technology described and investigated in this review is based on an MFC reactor . This one is
composed of two cells, each of which includes an electrode, named respectively: the anode and cathode.
The anode is placed in a nutrient-enriched environment and under strictly anaerobic conditions,
while the cathode is exposed to oxygen. Each electrode is connected with the other forming an
electrically-closed circuit through a resistor. The system is based on oxidation and reduction-coupled
reactions: the oxidation occurs in the anode producing electrons, which are then reduced in the cathode.
The reactions are electrically separated, forcing electrons to flow through an external circuit, while the
movement of H-ions from the anode to the cathode in the system maintains the balance of electrical
charges and completes the circuit.
A semipermeable proton exchange membrane (PEM) can divide the two chambers, in order to keep
them physically separated in two environments, the anode and cathode, and to assure the passage of
protons. However, there are systems in which the use of a PEM is not considered; they are called
membrane-less, in which a material of a different nature connects the compartments. In the case of
TMFCs, it is the ground itself that plays the roles of both the PEM and the source of biodegradable
organic matter for the purposes of power generation. The anode chamber is kept under anaerobic
conditions, ideal for ensuring the development and proliferation of bacteria, which adhere to the
electrode by forming a biofilm. Located at this electrode, microorganisms degrade the organic matter,
producing electrons, protons and carbon dioxide . The protons, a by-product of electrogenic
metabolism, transferred to the cathode, react together with oxygen, forming water molecules. In detail,
it is possible to observe the reactions occurring within a cell using acetate as a substrate:
Anodic reaction: CHCOOH + 2HO ⟶ 2CO+8H+8e
Cathodic reaction: 2O+8H+8e⟶4H
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The carbon dioxide is generated as a product of oxidation. However, there are no net carbon emissions
into the atmosphere, because the CO2 produced is biogenic, which is included in the biogeochemical
Compared to traditional inorganic fuel cells, which use energy generated from fossil fuel conversion,
an MFC bases its operational mode on biofuel and biocatalyst as the essential elements: they therefore
represent a fully sustainable zero emissions technology. Microorganisms are the most common
biocatalysts used in this technology as a consequence of both their wide diffusion in the biosphere and
the ability to self-sustain of some microbial species. Particularly for the latter feature, the production of
energy by an MFC is continuous, and it is limited only by the availability of nutrients within the anode
support. The bioelectricity obtained from the work of microorganisms has been known since the
beginning of the last century, but has become topical only recently. The transfer mechanism of electrons
into the cell can occur in three different ways: direct transfer from the molecule to the anode surface;
transfer of electrons through external mediators, employing a secondary biomolecule that carries
electrons to the anode (e.g., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which produces the pyocyanin); and finally,
electrons transfer through bacterial appendages, named nano-wires.
The most interesting class of bacteria is one that can produce electricity without requiring the addition
of mediators. Known as electrogenic species, these bacteria directly transfer electrons to chemical
species or a substance that is not an immediate electron-acceptor. Among the major strains of
electrogenic bacteria, we can count Geobacter metallireducens, Geobacter sulfurreducens  and
Desulfuromonas acetoxidans in the family of Geobacteraceae, while among Shewanella, we mention
Shewanella putrefaciens  and Shewanella oneidensis . The MFC voltage is determined by the
difference in redox potential between the two distinct electrodes. Redox potential discloses the tendency
of a chemical species to be reduced, that is to acquire electrons. Its value is expressed in volts (V). Redox
potential is therefore an intrinsic feature of the electrogenic chemical species: the higher the value, the
higher is the electron affinity and the bigger is its tendency to be reduced.
When a microbial community forms and begins to respire at the anode surface, the highly reduced
biomolecules start to accumulate around the anode. This build-up of metabolic by-products decreases
the electrical potential of the anode, settling on values typically between −0.4 V and −0.1 V vs. SHE
(standard hydrogen electrode).
The presence of oxygen moves the electrical potential of the cathode to a higher value, typically from
0.4 V to 0.8 V vs. SHE. The working voltage of the MFC is merely the potential of the anode subtracted
from the potential of the cathode. It should be noted that MFCs have a theoretical maximum voltage,
approximately 1.2 V between the two electrodes, since the redox potential of reduced biomolecules has
a minimum of −0.4 V vs. SHE and the redox potential of oxygen is 0.8 V vs. SHE . However, the
laboratory performance of MFCs is still much lower than the ideal performance. The production of
energy in an MFC is function of numerous factors, such as the possible geometries of the system and the
types of involved bacteria. The present work analyzes the main operating parameters influencing the
overall performance of a TMFC system. The parameters mainly observed are: pH and temperature,
which directly influence the microbial metabolic activities; the water content, which influences the
diffusion of both the nutrients and of the protons; the type of biomass and substrate used; and the
electrode materials and its surface area.
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1.2. Different Types of Microbial Fuel Cells
There are different type of MFCs; one is named the terrestrial microbial fuel cell (TMFC) and is
founded on the same basic MFC principles described above; whereby, standard topsoil is the
nutrient-rich anodic medium, the inoculum and the proton-exchange membrane (PEM).
The anode is placed at a working depth, generally about 8 cm into the ground, while the cathode is
preferable on top of the soil, in order to expose it to the oxygen in the air. Located in the soil, the aerobic
microbes act as an oxygen filter, consuming oxygen and, thus, preventing infiltration into the anode
compartment. The typical electrical potentials achieved in TMFCs are 0.2 V to 0.6 V vs. SHE for the
cathode and in a range from −0.2 V to 0.0 V vs. SHE for the anode . Therefore, the theoretical
maximum voltage of TMFC that can be achieved between the two electrodes is approximately 0.8 V.
Moreover, there are some different types of MFCs, like benthic or plant. In the first case of benthic
MFCs, ocean sediment acts as the nutrient-rich anodic media, the inoculum and the proton-exchange
membrane (PEM), the anodic redox potential typically leveling at approximately −0.4 V vs. SHE. The
cathode may still exhibit a potential of 0.4 V vs. SHE at depths in excess of 950 m .
In the second case, living plants transport substantial amounts of organic material into the soil. This
process, called rhizodeposition, provides the substrate for the rhizospheric microbial community.
An example is an MFC planted with rice, which is capable of reaching in an open circuit 0.8 V with an
anodic redox potential of −0.34 V vs. SHE. 
2. Experimental Section
This work is divided into two parts. The first one concerns the experiments, conducted in the
laboratories of the Center of Agronomical Research of the University of Costa Rica, assessing the good
performance, in terms of the power production, of the TMFC. We will provide the specifics about the
construction scheme of the reactor and about the measurement methods. The second part, conducted at
the Sapienza University of Rome, focuses on the electronic components of the nodes of the network.
A comparison of the performances of the different configurations adopted for the node was conducted
in order to find an innovative solution for the monitoring of key parameters [9–14].
2.1. Construction of Terrestrial Microbial Fuel Cells
Cells were built in PVC cylindrical reactors, with a diameter of 10 cm and a height of 10 cm (Figure 1).
During the experiment, two different types of reactors were employed: closed reactors and open reactors.
Closed reactors, of course, impose opportune and stable boundary conditions, optimizing the process
parameters and, consequently, the final energy production.
The materials chosen for the electrodes must be chemically inert, electrically conductive and have a
large surface area, so as to increase the contact area between the electrode and the microbial community
in the case of the anode and the reaction surface with oxygen in the case of the cathode. In the trial phase,
the electrodes used were made from fiber graphite felt (a ratio of the surface-to-mass of about 0.47 m2/g),
obtaining circular elements of a diameter of about 9.2 cm, a thickness of about 0.65 cm and a surface
area of 0.057 m2.
Sustainability 2014, 6 7267
Instead, the cables were made of titanium and coated with an insulating material, protecting them
from electrical interference caused by other components. These titanium cables were inserted into the
disks, for connecting electrodes.
Finally, a resistor is mounted on a KeegoTech board and placed on the upper side of the reactor,
completing the equipment. The graph displaying the evaluation of the power produced by the reactors
has been carried out by using six different resistors, respectively of the following values: 47, 100, 220,
470, 1000 and 10,000 Ohm. In performing the measurements, the voltage was checked thirty minutes
after the insertion of each resistance, allowing for the stabilization of the voltage.
Figure 1. Construction scheme of the reactor.
2.2. Temperature, Humidity and pH Analysis
In order to evaluate the influence of temperature on the energy yield of the reactors, some of them
were left subject to the daily temperature, while for others, it was decided to study their performance at
set temperature values. To control the temperature and adjust it to the desired value, the specimens were
placed in special incubators. The temperature was monitored throughout the day using a multimeter
equipped with a thermocouple.
To keep the pH under control in the course of the experiment, a pH meter (made by Hanna
Instruments) equipped with a glass electrode was used.
Humidity control was performed by the gravimetric method.
%TotalHumidity = wetweight − dryweight
dryweight × 100
2.3. Voltage Produced and Power Generated
The power was measured daily with a digital multimeter (ProsKit MT-1210) to evaluate performance.
The meter used for measuring the potential power supply has also been used for the reconstruction of
power curves. An MFC generates the maximum power when the external resistance is equal to its
internal resistance. The resistance offered by the soil is precisely the internal resistance of the system,
Sustainability 2014, 6 7268
which can be assessed by means of appropriate power tests. The calculation method used is based on
Ohm’s law. From the reconstruction of the curve, you can identify the peak maximum power, which
corresponds to the value of the internal resistance offered by the system. Again, according to Ohm’s law,
and by knowing the value of the delivered power together with the resistor used and the voltage
measured, it was possible to calculate the corresponding value of the current.
2.4. Wireless Node Configuration
A single node of a wireless network necessarily includes the presence of a transceiver for
communication and a microcontroller for the management of information. These elements require an
amount of electrical current intensity for the operation at a typical voltage of 3.3 V. TMFC generally
delivers a current intensity and voltage lower than those necessary for the operation of these components.
In order to achieve adequate levels of current and voltage, an interface circuit is needed to increase the
voltage level and to accumulate the amount of current required.
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Description of the Experimental Stages
The test phase can be divided into three main steps. The first test phase assessed the effect of pH on
TMFCs using a soil with characteristics typical of those found in Central America with a pH of 5.3.
The results were compared with those of a soil with a higher pH of 6.3. The second phase aims at
highlighting the specific influence of microorganisms, in terms of energy production. This experimental
phase consists of the inoculation of the microorganism, the most monitored in the previous phase, in a
previously sterilized soil. The third and final step describes the results achieved with a basic pH and
nutrient-rich soil. The following Table 1 shows a schematic description of the experimental phases.
In all experimental phases, we used five specimens in total (labeled in the following as A, B, C, D, E),
and for each of the five, three independent biological replicates were provided. The values in the Table 2,
for each of the five specimens are the statistical average of the results obtained in each of the three
Table 1. Description of the composition of the specimens and setup conditions.
Volume (g) pH Controlled
Phase 1 A Open 260 5.3 No 34.62 33.57
B Open 260 6.3 No 35.85 30.88
Phase 2 C Closed 260 6.3 Yes 35.1 35.1
D Closed 260 6.3 Yes 34.8 34.5
Phase 3 E Closed 260 7.2 Yes 34.37 34.14
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Table 2. Results obtained for each specimen.
Phase 1 A 14 154.4 72.91 0.30 0.04
B 30 192.3 160.27 10.44 1.57
Phase 2 C 45 327 293.42 34.04 5.11
D 45 368 325.26 41.33 6.2
Phase 3 E 65 662 590.1 310.24 46.58
3.1.1. First Experimental Cycle: Specimens A and B
The first phase of the experiment confirmed the unsuitability of this technology to acid soils. In the
graph of Figure 2, concerning the potential, “Test Specimen A” shows a bell-shaped trend. This confirms
a good increase of the voltage produced by the cell during the first week of operation. Unfortunately, the
same graph shows evidence following a rapid fall of the potential until its complete zeroing. This trend
is due to the low pH value of the soil. In the initial phase, it is not limiting, but during the degradation
activity of the substrate, showing the production of the strongly acid catabolites, the pH is lowered
further, reaching a value below the range of tolerance of the bacteria themselves. With these premises,
the power curve calculated obviously shows absolutely unsatisfactory and unusable values.
Figure 2. Evolution of the open circuit potential obtained in the experimental stages.
The results obtained improve significantly with the second sample “B” monitored during the first
phase of the trial. Next, in order to obtain more meaningful data, a clay soil with a pH value of 6.3 was
used. First, you have to show the duration and stability of the specimen, which, after an initial phase of
growth, lasting approximately two weeks, has stabilized to an output voltage of around 200 mV, as is
observable in the related graph of Figure 2. The energy production of the samples remained constant
throughout the entire period of one month. The power curve shows significantly higher values than those
obtained from Specimen A. It is noted that both samples were prepared in the same way, and the
experimentation took place under the same operating conditions.
1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 47 50 53 56 59 62 65
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3.1.2. Second Experimental Cycle: Specimens C and D
The results obtained during the first phase of the experiment made it possible to narrow the range of
applicability of the technology, the conditioning from the pH parameter, by testing the sample cell with
different soils characterized by pH progressively tending to neutrality, and excluding the soil showing a
pH of 5.3, which was used in the Specimen A.
In the second experimental cycle, two samples with a soil characterized by a pH of 6.3 were
employed. Furthermore, it was decided to modify the configuration of the reactors, so as to be able to
work with a closed system, and to better control the other two main operating parameters, i.e.,
temperature and water content. To counter the very irregular temperature trend, observed during the first
experimental phase, an incubator was used, imposing a constant temperature of 26 °C. Specimen B had
showed, after one month of operation, a sharp decrease of water content, linked to the phenomena of
evaporation. The new configuration of the reactors has allowed, in this case, a stable moisture value next
to its initial amount, by the time that in the closed system, all of the water that evaporates is destined to
re-condense. With the fixed amounts of pH, humidity and temperature, it was decided to evaluate the
different behavior of the two samples, in two different operating conditions: the first in the presence of
an inoculated single bacterial strain and the second in standard conditions. The inoculation of the
bacterium occurred after autoclave sterilization of the soil used.
The results obtained in this phase of the research were positive, rewarding the operational choices
that were made. Both samples have ensured a stable operation for the whole duration of the experimental
cycle (45 days). After the period of growth, classically lasting about ten days, the position of the electrical
potential values was stably around their maximum values, showing variations of less than 5%.
Comparing the performance of two specimens, this can highlight a slight superiority of “Specimen D”,
the only one of the five specimens achieved with the inoculated Pseudomonas bacterial strain. The level
of the output voltage exceeded the 12.5% recorded by “Sample C”. The maximum power obtained from
Sample C, normalized to the surface of the anode, is 5.11 mW/m2. On the other hand, Specimen D
reached a power value of 6.2 mW/m2.
3.1.3. Third Experimental Cycle: Specimen E
Next, we used a peaty soil, characterized by a value of pH = 7.2, and as expected, we confirmed this
to be a decisive factor for optimizing the performance of this kind of MFC. The samples were again
placed inside the incubator, initially at a temperature of 24 °C. Subsequently, when the performance of
the cell was stabilized, the temperature was raised to 26 °C (Day 42), in such a way so as to assess
whether the increase in temperature could affect the production of energy. Again, following the
stabilization of the output voltage from the cell, a second temperature increase of 28 °C was made on
Day 55. From the analysis of the graph (Figure 2), it is evident that the increases in temperature has had
a limited influence on the performance of the cell: these gradual increases produced in fact, a growth of
the electrical potential of 0.3%. The maximum power production (Table 3), in correspondence with a
resistance of 1000 ohms, is equal to 0.31 mW (Figure 3), which corresponds to a current intensity of
0.557 mA. Instead, when we normalized the power produced on the surface of the anode, a power density
of 46.58 mW/m2 has been obtained. This value is better than a power density of 10 mW/m2 of a miniature
Sustainability 2014, 6 7271
MFC using Shewanella oneidensis , or a power density of 12 mW/m2 of a sediment microbial fuel
cell , or the power density of a 14.6 mW/m2 typical of an MFC , or a power density of 6.17 mW/m2
of a BackyardNet TMFC . The corresponding value of the current density obtained is 84 mA/m2.
Table 3. Experimental output power at different load conditions for each specimen.
Power A (µW)
Power B (µW)
Power C (µW)
Power D (µW)
Power E (µW)
47 0.12 3.93 7.36 12.15 57.53
100 0.17 5.85 15.6 18.06 92.16
220 0.25 7.9 21.64 26.53 147.27
470 0.28 9.86 32.6 37.12 299.2
1000 0.30 10.44 34.04 41.33 310.24
10,000 0.07 1.36 6.82 12.6 53.87
Figure 3. Comparison between the results of the output power (power curves) in the
In comparison with benthic microbial fuel cells (BMFCs), which produce a typically power density
of 30 mW/m2, the TMFC used in this review obtained a better performance with 46.58 mW/m2 .
3.2. Comparison between Different Configurations of a Node
In the previous sections, we investigated the TMFCs’ performance, in order to assess the
appropriateness of their use as power supplies for low voltage and low power electronic devices. Now,
our main interest is to investigate if and how a TMFC could supply sufficient energy for adequately
making the nodes of a wireless sensor network (WSN) work .
The following Table 4 presents the comparison, in terms of required DC current, between five
different possible hardware configurations of a WSN node. The IEEE 802.15.4 standard communication
protocol (like ZigBee protocol) is preferable to the IEEE 802.11 standard protocol, e.g., Wi-Fi, because
it is more suitable for low-power personal area networks. Consequently, all transceivers compared in the
table are limited to the IEEE 802.15.4 standard protocol.
The first configuration (C1) includes transceiver module XBee Series 2 by Digi, combined with a
MC9S08Q32 free-scale microcontroller. The second configuration (C2) includes a transceiver XBeePro
47 100 220 470 1000 10000
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S2B by Digi that integrates the same previous free-scale microcontroller. The XBeePro S2B device
shows a larger outdoor line-of-sight transmission range than XBee Series 2. Specifically, the XBeePro
S2B series reaches 3200 m for the case of the U.S. variant or 1500 m for that of the international variant
compared to 120 m for the Series 2, but requires more current for its functioning. The third and fourth
configurations are based on RF modules made by the microchip industry. The third configuration (C3)
includes the MRF24J40MA RF module combined with the PIC24F04KL100 low power microcontroller.
The fourth configuration (C4) incorporates the MRF24XA RF module together with the same
PIC24F04KL100 microcontroller. The fifth configuration includes SN260 modules by ST Microelectronics:
a network processor that integrates a transceiver and the XAP2b Core microprocessor.
Since the TMFC, tested in this review, generates a maximum current of 557 µA, not enough to support
what the WSN node requires, one needs to store energy during the time that the system is in standby
mode. The mode of operation for energy storage remains until the energy reaches the amount required
to support the data transmission. Therefore, we consider additional circuits for storing electrical charges,
and Table 4 shows the duration of the minimum charge time at a constant current, assuming the charge
is linear and normalized to the single bit transmitted, evaluated for each configuration. We consider a
minimum throughput of 5 Kbps, typical for a standard configuration with five nodes, to calculate the
minimum charge time required to transmit the single bit. The required current during transmission mode,
and standby current, specified in the same Table 4, are the sum of currents absorbed from each
component (transceiver, microcontroller, etc.) present in each of the five configurations. We specify that
each of the components works at a voltage of 3.3 V. Indeed, we had to raise the voltage from 0.68 V, the
best performance of a TMFC, to 3.3 V using a charging circuit, exploiting the properties of a capacitor.
For the charging circuit, we will use a step-up DC-DC converter with coupled inductors for low
input voltages [19,20].
Table 4. Electrical consumption of a WSN transceiver: basic data comparison between five
Tx operating current
(max power output) 48 mA 233 mA 23.3 mA 25.3 mA 35.5 mA
Rx operating current 38 mA 62 mA 19 mA 13.5 mA 35.3 mA
Standby current 1.5 µA 4 µA 2.03 µA 70 nA 1 µA
(single bit transmitted) 0.01728 s 0.0842 s 0.00839 s 0.00908 s 0.01276 s
line-of-sight range 120 m 3200 m 140 m 140 m 150 m
Considered the minimum number of sensor nodes needed by a suitable network for applications, like
precision agriculture, the compromise for choosing the most suitable configuration is to try to limit the
number of nodes, holding down costs. If the area to be covered is not very large, the nodes can be placed
at a close distance, making the fourth configuration the most efficient, considering a low transmission
rate. If, however, the time interval between two transmissions is decreased, while simultaneously
increasing the number of acquired data to be transmitted, then the best configurations are, respectively,
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in the sequence C3-C4-C5-C1. Conversely, more powerful transmitters will be needed if the area to
cover is extended, making the second configuration the more preferable one. However, it will require
greater amounts of electrical current intensity for its functioning, making the system more complex.
In this work, we evaluated the possibility to supply power to a wireless sensor network through a
TMFC, first obtaining an adequate amount of energy, operating on several factors that influence TMFCs’
performance, such as pH, temperature, humidity and the type of soil used. Then, we evaluated the
applicability of TMFCs to provide energy to a wireless sensor network in different possible configurations.
Concerning the factors that influence TMFCs’ performance, we had seen that the pH of the medium
plays a vital role in the applicability of the technology, and it should not fall below a threshold value of
pH 6. The test showed that there are no large fluctuations in terms of energy production by varying the
temperature in the mesophilic range. Ultimately the results, in terms of stability and energy efficiency,
depend highly on the soil type; however, the pH and humidity level were seen to be basic parameters for
its proper functioning.
In conclusion, we have determined that it is possible to exploit the energy supplied by the tested
TMFCs for the functioning of a network node in each of the five configurations. Among the future
developments, we consider the possibility of reducing consumption in terms of a power request from a
node and to study the possibility of using a sediment microbial fuel cell. Imagining the development of
a network for precision agriculture, the ideal would be to exploit crops whose soils have important
factors, such as pH, in a suitable range for TMFCs, as in the case of grapevine.
The authors would like to thank the following for their help: Lidieth Uribe and her research
group, Keegan Cooke, Carlos Henriques, Carlos Corrales Alfaro, Tatiana Arguedas, Mariana Murillo,
Arturo Valenciano Sequeira, Jonathan Masis Azofeifa and Michele Frazioli.
The present paper is the result of the free, full and equal cooperation among all of the authors, who
had the following roles and accomplished the following tasks. Andrea Pietrelli performed the research
and wrote the paper. Andrea Micangeli, Project Coordinator, designed the research. Vincenzo Ferrara,
Project Supervisor, supervised the scientific aspect of the whole paper contents. Alessandro Raffi,
Project Participant, supported the activities related to the sustainability aspects of the work. All authors
have read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Sustainability 2014, 6 7274
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