Author(s): Rabaey K, Clauwaert P, Aelterman P, Verstraete W
Abstract Share this page
Abstract A tubular, single-chambered, continuous microbial fuel cell (MFC) that generates high power outputs using a granular graphite matrix as the anode and a ferricyanide solution as the cathode is described. The maximal power outputs obtained were 90 and 66 W m(-3) net anodic compartment (NAC) (48 and 38 W m(-3) total anodic compartment (TAC)) for feed streams based on acetate and glucose, respectively, and 59 and 48 W m(-3) NAC for digester effluent and domestic wastewater, respectively. For acetate and glucose, the total Coulombic conversion efficiencies were 75 +/- 5\% and 59 +/- 4\%, respectively, at loading rates of 1.1 kg chemical oxygen demand m(-3) NAC volume day(-1). When wastewater was used, of the organic matter effectively removed (i.e., 22\% at a loading of 2 kg organic matter m(-3) NAC day(-1)), up to 96\% was converted to electricity on a Coulombic basis. The lower overall efficiency of the wastewater-treating reactors is related to the presence of nonreadily biodegradable organics and the interference of alternative electron acceptors such as sulfate present in the wastewater. To further improve MFCs, focus has to be placed on the enhanced conversion of nonrapidly biodegradable material and the better directing of the anode flow toward the electrode instead of to alternative electron acceptors. Also the use of sustainable, open-air cathodes is a critical issue for practical implementation.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology