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Design mining microbial fuel cell cascades

Preen, Richard; You, Jiseon; Bull, Larry; Ieropoulos, Ioannis A.


Richard Preen
Research Fellow - Deep Evolutionary Learning

Jiseon You
Research Fellow - Bristol BioEnergy Centre

Lawrence Bull
AHOD Research and Scholarship and Prof


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) perform wastewater treatment and electricity production through the conversion of organic matter using microorganisms. For practical applications, it has been suggested that greater efficiency can be achieved by arranging multiple MFC units into physical stacks in a cascade with feedstock flowing sequentially between units. In this article, we investigate the use of cooperative coevolution to physically explore and optimise (potentially) heterogeneous MFC designs in a cascade, i.e., without simulation. Conductive structures are 3D printed and inserted into the anodic chamber of each MFC unit, augmenting a carbon fibre veil anode and affecting the hydrodynamics, including the feedstock volume and hydraulic retention time, as well as providing unique habitats for microbial colonisation. We show that it is possible to use design mining to identify new conductive inserts that increase both the cascade power output and power density.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 31, 2019
Journal Soft Computing
Print ISSN 1432-7643
Electronic ISSN 1433-7479
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 13
Pages 4673-7643
APA6 Citation Preen, R., You, J., Bull, L., & Ieropoulos, I. (2019). Design mining microbial fuel cell cascades. Soft Computing, 23(13), 4673-7643.
Keywords 3D printing, cascade stacks, cooperative coevolution, microbial fuel cell, shape optimisation
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The dataset for this study is available from the UWE Research Data Repository:


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