Project Details




As bacteria metabolize organic substrates (electron donor), electrons are transferred via respiratory enzymes to an electron acceptor. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) take advantage of this basic metabolic process by transferring the electrons from the bacterial respiratory enzymes directly to an electrode (anode), which is wired to a second electrode (cathode) that is exposed to air (or the electron acceptor, O2) in a separate compartment. The flow of electrons between the electrodes creates a current, and forms the basis of the fuel cell. Although the amount of electricity generated is small at this point, the potential economic benefit for wastewater treatment is enormous. The investigators seek to systematically evaluate the effect of MFC design and configuration on power generation. The researchers specifically seek to identify system components that can be re-designed to improve economic viability of existing configurations, and to improve overall rates of energy generation. These include cathode-to-anode surface area ratio and spacing, PEM material, cathode material, and anode material.

Effective start/end date11/15/0410/31/08


  • National Science Foundation: $509,342.00


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