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Microbial fuel cell compared to a chemostat

Greenman, John; Mendis, Buddhi Arjuna; Gajda, Iwona; Ieropoulos, Ioannis A.

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Buddhi Arjuna Mendis

Iwona Serruys
Senior Lecturer in Engineering Management

Yannis Ieropoulos
Professor in Bioenergy & Director of B-B


Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) represent a green and sustainable energy conversion system that integrate bacterial biofilms within an electrochemical two-electrode set-up to produce electricity from organic waste. In this review, we focus on a novel exploratory model, regarding “thin” biofilms forming on highly perfusable (non-diffusible) anodes in small-scale, continuous flow MFCs due to the unique properties of the electroactive biofilm. We discuss how this type of MFC can behave as a chemostat in fulfilling common properties including steady state growth and multiple steady states within the limit of biological physicochemical conditions imposed by the external environment. With continuous steady state growth, there is also continuous metabolic rate and continuous electrical power production, which like the chemostat can be controlled. The model suggests that in addition to controlling growth rate and power output by changing the external resistive load, it will be possible instead to change the flow rate/dilution rate.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 11, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2022
Publication Date Jun 30, 2022
Deposit Date Jun 3, 2023
Publicly Available Date Sep 19, 2023
Journal Chemosphere
Print ISSN 0045-6535
Electronic ISSN 1879-1298
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 296
Article Number 133967
Keywords MFC Chemostat Steady state Dilution rate Growth rate Electrical power
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