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Electrosynthesis, modulation, and self-driven electroseparation in microbial fuel cells

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

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Iwona Serruys
Senior Lecturer in Engineering Management

Jiseon You
Lecturer in Engineering/ Project Management

Buddhi Arjuna Mendis

Yannis Ieropoulos
Professor in Bioenergy & Director of B-B


Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) represents a sustainable platform that converts waste into resources, using microorganisms within an electrochemical cell. Traditionally, MES refers to the oxidation/reduction of a reactant at the electrode surface with externally applied potential bias. However, microbial fuel cells (MFCs) generate electrons that can drive electrochemical reactions at otherwise unbiased electrodes. Electrosynthesis in MFCs is driven by microbial oxidation of organic matter releasing electrons that force the migration of cationic species to the cathode. Here, we explore how electrosynthesis can coexist within electricity-producing MFCs thanks to electro-separation of cations, electroosmotic drag, and oxygen reduction within appropriately designed systems. More importantly, we report on a novel method of in situ modulation for electrosynthesis, through additional “pin” electrodes. Several MFC electrosynthesis modulating methods that adjust the electrode potential of each half-cell through the pin electrodes are presented. The innovative concept of electrosynthesis within the electricity producing MFCs provides a multidisciplinary platform converting waste-to-resources in a self-sustainable way.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 20, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 20, 2021
Publication Date Aug 20, 2021
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 21, 2022
Journal iScience
Electronic ISSN 2589-0042
Publisher Elsevier (Cell Press)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 8
Article Number 102805
Keywords Multidisciplinary
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Electrosynthesis, modulation, and self-driven electroseparation in microbial fuel cells; Journal Title: iScience; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s).


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