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General priniciples of MFCs PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2008

A microbial fuel cell (MFC) converts chemical energy, available in a bio-convertible substrate, directly into electricity. To achieve this, bacteria are used as a catalyst to convert substrate into electrons.

Bacteria are very small (size appr. 1 µm) organisms which can convert a huge variety of organic compounds into CO2, water and energy. The micro-organsisms use the produced energy to grow and to maintain there metabolism. However, by using a MFC we can harvest a part of this microbial energy in the form of electricity.

A MFC consists of an anode, a cathode, a proton or cation exchange membrane and an electrical circuit.

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Anode process: microbial oxidation of substrate PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2009

To date, many organic substrates have been investigated as possible energy sources to generate electricity using MFCs. Below, an overview is given of the substrates which have been used to fuel MFCs.

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The energy metabolism of microorganisms PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 January 2009

If bacteria want to survive, grow or become dominant within a microbial community, they do not only require substrate and nutrients but they also need the presence of an appropriate electron acceptor. Based on the usage of a final electron acceptor, there are two main modes of microbial energy conservation: respiration and fermentation. These processes are ubiquitous in various natural environments.

Recently, they have been accompanied by a new exciting respiration process occurring in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs): electrogenesis.

The working principles of these three processes are covered in this item.

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Factors limiting the electrical energy generation in MFCs PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The microbial conversion of substrates is a key process to generate electricity in BESs. Despite, the microbial nature of the process, it is affected by electrochemical laws and principles which generally results in a lowering of the attainable voltage. The main electrical principles and the processes governing these losses are briefly described. Subsequently, the various conversions efficiencies are discussed.

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