Microbial Fuel Cells Tested for Soil-Moisture Monitoring

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), are testing microbial fuel cells to power soil-moisture sensing systems on farms. The microbial fuel cells, also known as mud batteries, gather energy from bacteria that live in soil using a power-harvesting chip. The researchers are working to refine chips designed for other uses for this application. In field testing at the UCSC farm, the mud batteries are teamed with low-cost soil-moisture sensing technology to create a rugged, long-term moisture monitoring system that also provides an indication of soil health based on the soil bacteria’s performance.