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Response of ceramic microbial fuel cells to direct anodic airflow and novel hydrogel cathodes

Winfield, J.; Greenman, J.; Ieropoulos, I.


Jonathan Winfield
Acting Associate Head of Department in Electronics & Robotics

J. Greenman


© 2019 The Authors The presence of air in the anode chamber of microbial fuel cells (MFCs)might be unavoidable in some applications. This study purposely exposed the anodic biofilm to air for sustained cycles using ceramic cylindrical MFCs. A method for improving oxygen uptake at the cathode by utilising hydrogel was also trialled. MFCs only dropped by 2 mV in response to the influx of air. At higher air-flow rates (up to 1.1 L/h)after 43–45 h, power did eventually decrease because chemical oxygen demand (COD)was being consumed (up to 96% reduction), but recovered immediately with fresh feedstock, highlighting no permanent damage to the biofilm. Two months after the application of hydrogel to the cathode chamber, MFC power increased 182%, due to better contact between cathode and ceramic surface. The results suggest a novel way of improving MFC performance using hydrogels, and demonstrates the robustness of the electro-active biofilm both during and following exposure to air.


Winfield, J., Greenman, J., & Ieropoulos, I. (2019). Response of ceramic microbial fuel cells to direct anodic airflow and novel hydrogel cathodes. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 44(29), 15344-15354.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 3, 2019
Online Publication Date May 3, 2019
Publication Date Jun 7, 2019
Deposit Date May 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 8, 2019
Journal International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Print ISSN 0360-3199
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 29
Pages 15344-15354
Keywords microbial fuel cell, wastewater treatment, hydrogel, biosensor, bioelectrochemical system, sequencing batch reactor
Public URL
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