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Advanced Fabrication, Modeling, and Testing of a Microphotosynthetic Electrochemical Cell for Energy Harvesting Applications

Unconventional renewable energy sources are scarce and have not been explored thoroughly or exploited. The photosynthetic power cell (PSC) is one among them. Though there are few prototypes fabricated earlier, there has not been a comprehensive electrical equivalent model developed. This paper proposes an electrical equivalent model for a microphotosynthetic power cell (μPSC), which is tested and authenticated with experimental verification on a fabricated prototype. The developed model is further used for testing emulation behavior, to efficiently and accurately design an energy harvestingpower electronic converter.

The principle of the operation of the device is based on “photosynthesis.” Photosynthesis and respiration both involve an electron transfer chain. The electrons are extracted with the help of electrodes and a redox agent, and a power electronic converter is designed to harvest the energy. The fabricated cell is capable of producing an open-circuit voltage of 0.9 V and about 200 μW of peak power. The μPSC has an active area of 4.84 cm2, which approximately translates to a powerdensity of 400 mW/m2. This makes it as one of the best-performing μPSC. The other top-performing μPSC devices report power densities of between 100 and 250 mW/m2. The PSC produces energy under both dark and light conditions.