A Generation of Microbial Fuel Cells with Current Outputs Boosted by More Than One Order of Magnitude

A Generation of Microbial Fuel Cells with Current Outputs Boosted by More Than One Order of Magnitude

A Generation of Microbial Fuel Cells with Current Outputs Boosted by More Than One Order of Magnitude

The concept of employing microbial catabolic activity to
directly generate electricity from the degradation of organic
matter provides access to cheap and environmentally friendly
energy sources. The energy conversion can be achieved with
the help of microbial fuel cells, in which mostly fermentative
microorganisms serve as biocatalysts and from which electrons
are diverted and transferred to an electrode to generate
electricity. Finding an efficient way to “wire” the microbial
activity to an electrode is the key to the success of microbial
fuel cells.[1] Hitherto, electricity generation was limited to
current densities of about 20 mAcm2 achieved by the use of
dissolved artificial redox mediators[2] and 120 mAcm2 by
using the oxidation of metabolic products at platinum black
anodes.[3] Herein we report a microbial fuel cell that
continuously generates a current output more than one
order of magnitude larger than the known microbial fuel
cells (up to 1.5 mAcm2). The novel fuel cell concept uses
polymer-modified catalytically active anodes which shuttle
electrons from the bacterial suspension to the anode.
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