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Developing 3D-printable cathode electrode for monolithically printed microbial fuel cells (MFCs)

Theodosiou, Pavlina; Greenman, John; Ieropoulos, Ioannis A.


Pavlina Theodosiou


© 2020 by the authors. Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) employ microbial electroactive species to convert chemical energy stored in organic matter, into electricity. The properties of MFCs have made the technology attractive for bioenergy production. However, a challenge to the mass production of MFCs is the time-consuming assembly process, which could perhaps be overcome using additive manufacturing (AM) processes. AM or 3D-printing has played an increasingly important role in advancing MFC technology, by substituting essential structural components with 3D-printed parts. This was precisely the line of work in the EVOBLISS project, which investigated materials that can be extruded from the EVOBOT platform for a monolithically printed MFC. The development of such inexpensive, eco-friendly, printable electrode material is described below. The electrode in examination (PTFE-FREE-AC), is a cathode made of alginate and activated carbon, and was tested against an off-the-shelf sintered carbon (AC-BLOCK) and a widely used activated carbon electrode (PTFE-AC). The results showed that the MFCs using PTFE-FREE-AC cathodes performed better compared to the PTFE-AC or AC-BLOCK, producing maximum power levels of 286 μW, 98 μW and 85 μW, respectively. In conclusion, this experiment demonstrated the development of an air-dried, extrudable (3D-printed) electrode material successfully incorporated in an MFC system and acting as a cathode electrode.


Theodosiou, P., Greenman, J., & Ieropoulos, I. A. (2020). Developing 3D-printable cathode electrode for monolithically printed microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Molecules, 25(16), 1-11.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 10, 2020
Publication Date Aug 10, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 5, 2020
Journal Molecules
Electronic ISSN 1420-3049
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 16
Article Number 3635
Pages 1-11
Keywords 3D-printing; electrode materials; alginate; air-breathing cathode; EVOBOT; MFC; additive manufacturing
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