Advertisement

Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC): An Innovative Technology for Wastewater Treatment and Power Generation

  • Mostafa RahimnejadEmail author
  • Maryam Asghary
  • Marjan Fallah
Chapter

Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have been nominated as new alternatives and novel opportunities which are able to convert biodegradable organic matters (as substrates) into green electricity with the aim of different types of active microorganisms as active biocatalysts. In terms of configurations, one-chambered MFCs (OC-MFCs), dual-chambered MFCs (DC-MFCs), tubular, H-type, upflow MFCs, and stacked ones would be introduced each for specific objectives. Basically, MFC configuration consists of a biological anode and an abiotic cathode chamber separated by a proton exchange membrane. Direct production of electricity out of substrates, enabling to be operated efficiently at an ambient temperature, and expanding the diversity of fuels used as energy requirements are some of the most praiseworthy advantages of MFCs. Due to electron and proton release resulted by oxidized substrates in anode compartment, sufficient information about electron transfer mechanisms of microorganisms is essential to reach raising amount of energy produced by an MFC system and to find out the theory about their operation. In the 1980s, scientists have figured out that adding some electron mediators causes an incredible enhancement in power output and current density of mentioned technology. By this demonstration, the mediator acts as a movable agent which transports electrons between electrode and bacteria in anode part. Moreover, the most useful applications of MFCs can be classified into four significant categories. They have the ability to be used for electricity production, generation of biological hydrogen, and wastewater treatment (WWT) plants. Besides, MFCs was used as power generator for sensors and biosensors or serve as biosensors themselves. Hence, use of MFCs in water quality improvement which is related to WWT has attracted many scientists all over the world over recent years. Consequently, by using these novel technologies, online monitoring of various parameters related to water quality such as biological oxygen demand, toxicity, and total organic carbon is achievable.

Keywords

Fuel cells Microbial fuel cells Wastewater treatment Biosensors Electricity generation 

References

  1. Aelterman P, Rabaey K, Clauwaert P, Verstraete W (2006a) Microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment. Water Sci Technol 54:9–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aelterman P, Rabaey K, Pham HT, Boon N, Verstraete W (2006b) Continuous electricity generation at high voltages and currents using stacked microbial fuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 40:3388–3394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asghary M, Raoof JB, Rahimnejad M, Ojani R (2016) A novel self-powered and sensitive label-free DNA biosensor in microbial fuel cell. Biosens Bioelectron 82:173–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bard AJ, Faulkner LR (2001) Electrochemical methods. Fundamentals and applications, 2nd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Bettin C (2006) Applicability and feasibility of incorporating microbial fuel cell technology into implantable biomedical devices. College of Engineering, 122 Hitchcock Hall, The Ohio University. https://kb.osu.edu/bitstream/handle/1811/6443/bettinthesisPDF.pdf;sequence=1
  6. Bezerra CW, Zhang L, Lee K, Liu H, Marques AL, Marques EP, Wang H, Zhang J (2008) Carbon nanotube/polyaniline composite as anode material for microbial fuel cells. Electrochim Acta 53:4937–4951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bond DR, Holmes DE, Tender LM, Lovley DR (2002) Electrode-reducing microorganisms that harvest energy from marine sediments. Science 295:483–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bullen RA, Arnot T, Lakeman J, Walsh F (2006) Biofuel cells and their development. Biosens Bioelectron 21:2015–2045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen GW, Choi SJ, Lee TH, Lee GY, Cha JH, Kim CW (2008) Application of biocathode in microbial fuel cells: cell performance and microbial community. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 79:379–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cheng S, Liu H, Logan BE (2006a) Increased performance of single-chamber microbial fuel cells using an improved cathode structure. Electrochem Commun 8:489–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheng S, Liu H, Logan BE (2006b) Increased power generation in a continuous flow MFC with advective flow through the porous anode and reduced electrode spacing. Environ Sci Technol 40:2426–2432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cheng S, Liu H, Logan BE (2006c) Power densities using different cathode catalysts (Pt and CoTMPP) and polymer binders (Nafion and PTFE) in single chamber microbial fuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 40:364–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chouler J, Di Lorenzo M (2015) Water quality monitoring in developing countries; can microbial fuel cells be the answer? Biosensors 5:450–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dai C, Choi S (2013) Technology and applications of microbial biosensor. Open J Appl Biosen 2:83–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Das D (2009) Advances in biohydrogen production processes: an approach towards commercialization. Int J Hydrog Energy 34:7349–7357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Daud WRW, Najafpour G, Rahimnejad M (2011) Clean energy for tomorrow: towards zero emission and carbon free future: a review. Iran J Energy Environ 2:262–273Google Scholar
  17. Debabov V (2008) Electricity from microorganisms. Microbiology 77:123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deng Q, Li X, Zuo J, Ling A, Logan BE (2010) Power generation using an activated carbon fiber felt cathode in an upflow microbial fuel cell. J Power Sources 195:1130–1135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Du Z, Li H, Gu T (2007) A state of the art review on microbial fuel cells: a promising technology for wastewater treatment and bioenergy. Biotechnol Adv 25:464–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Esmaeili C, Ghasemi M, Heng LY, Hassan SH, Abdi MM, Daud WRW, Ilbeygi H, Ismail AF (2014) Synthesis and application of polypyrrole/carrageenan nano-bio composite as a cathode catalyst in microbial fuel cells. Carbohydr Polym 114:253–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gil GC, Chang IS, Kim BH, Kim M, Jang JK, Park HS, Kim HJ (2003) Operational parameters affecting the performance of a mediator-less microbial fuel cell. Biosens Bioelectron 18:327–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grote M (2010) Surfaces of action. Cells and membranes in electrochemistry and the life sciences. Stud Hist Phil Biol Biomed Sci 41:183–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guo Q, Furukawa K, Sopher BL, Pham DG, Xie J, Robinson N, Martin GM, Mattson MP (1996) Alzheimer’s PS-1 mutation perturbs calcium homeostasis and sensitizes PC12 cells to death induced by amyloid β-peptide. Neuroreport 8:379–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Habermann W, Pommer E (1991) Biological fuel cells with sulphide storage capacity. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 35:128–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ivanov I, Vidaković-Koch T, Sundmacher K (2010) Recent advances in enzymatic fuel cells: experiments and modeling. Energies 3:803–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Izadi P, Rahimnejad M (2013) Simultaneous electricity generation and sulfide removal via a dual chamber microbial fuel cell. Biofuel Res J 1:34–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jafary T, Ghoreyshi AA, Najafpour GD, Fatemi S, Rahimnejad M (2013) Investigation on performance of microbial fuel cells based on carbon sources and kinetic models. Int J Energy Res 37:1539–1549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jang JK, Pham TH, Chang IS, Kang KH, Moon H, Cho KS, Kim BH (2004) Construction and operation of a novel mediator- and membrane-less microbial fuel cell. Process Biochem 39:1007–1012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jong BC, Kim BH, Chang IS, Liew PWY, Choo YF, Kang GS (2006) Enrichment, performance, and microbial diversity of a thermophilic mediatorless microbial fuel cell. Environ Sci Technol 40:6449–6454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jung S, Regan JM (2007) Comparison of anode bacterial communities and performance in microbial fuel cells with different electron donors. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 77:393–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kim BH, Chang IS, Cheol Gil G, Park HS, Kim HJ (2003) Novel BOD (biological oxygen demand) sensor using mediator-less microbial fuel cell. Biotechnol Lett 25:541–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kim JR, Min B, Logan BE (2005) Evaluation of procedures to acclimate a microbial fuel cell for electricity production. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 68:23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kim JR, Cheng S, Oh SE, Logan BE (2007a) Power generation using different cation, anion, and ultrafiltration membranes in microbial fuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 41:1004–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kim JR, Jung SH, Regan JM, Logan BE (2007b) Electricity generation and microbial community analysis of alcohol powered microbial fuel cells. Bioresour Technol 98:2568–2577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kim BH, Chang IS, Gadd GM (2007c) Challenges in microbial fuel cell development and operation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 76:485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kim JR, Premier GC, Hawkes FR, Rodríguez J, Dinsdale RM, Guwy AJ (2010) Modular tubular microbial fuel cells for energy recovery during sucrose wastewater treatment at low organic loading rate. Bioresour Technol 101:1190–1198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kumlanghan A, Liu J, Thavarungkul P, Kanatharana P, Mattiasson B (2007) Microbial fuel cell-based biosensor for fast analysis of biodegradable organic matter. Biosens Bioelectron 22:2939–2944CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lee K, Zhang J, Lui H, Hui R, Shi Z, Zhang J (2009) Oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalyzed by carbon-supported cobalt polypyrrole (Co-PPy/C) electrocatalysts. Electrochim Acta 54:4704–4711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Leech D, Kavanagh P, Schuhmann W (2012) Enzymatic fuel cells: recent progress. Electrochim Acta 84:223–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lefebvre O, Uzabiaga A, Chang IS, Kim BH, Ng HY (2011) Microbial fuel cells for energy self-sufficient domestic wastewater treatment-a review and discussion from energetic consideration. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 89:259–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Li Z, Zhang X, Lei L (2008) Electricity production during the treatment of real electroplating wastewater containing Cr6+ using microbial fuel cell. Process Biochem 43:1352–1358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Li C, Venkatesan R, Bian T (2010) Wireless communications and networking conference (WCNC), IEEE, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  43. Li WW, Sheng GP, Liu XW, Yu HQ (2011) Recent advances in the separators for microbial fuel cells. Bioresour Technol 102:244–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lithgow A, Romero L, Sanchez I, Souto F, Vega C (1986) Journal of chemical research. Synopses 178–179Google Scholar
  45. Liu H, Ramnarayanan R, Logan BE (2004) Production of electricity during wastewater treatment using a single chamber microbial fuel cell. Environ Sci Technol 38:2281–2285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Liu H, Cheng S, Logan BE (2005) Power generation in fed-batch microbial fuel cells as a function of ionic strength, temperature, and reactor configuration. Environ Sci Technol 39:5488–5493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Liu H, Hu H, Chignell J, Fan Y (2010) Microbial electrolysis: novel technology for hydrogen production from biomass. Biofuels 1:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Logan BE (2004) Biologically extracting energy from wastewater: biohydrogen production and microbial fuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 38:160–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Logan BE (2009) Exoelectrogenic bacteria that power microbial fuel cells. Nat Rev Microbiol 7:375–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Logan BE, Regan JM (2006) Electricity-producing bacterial communities in microbial fuel cells. Trends Microbiol 14:512–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Logan BE, Murano C, Scott K, Gray ND, Head IM (2005) Electricity generation from cysteine in a microbial fuel cell. Water Res 39:942–952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Logan BE, Hamelers B, Rozendal R, Schröder U, Keller J, Freguia S, Aelterman P, Verstraete W, Rabaey K (2006) Microbial fuel cells: methodology and technology. Environ Sci Technol 40:5181–5192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lovley DR (2011) Powering microbes with electricity: direct electron transfer from electrodes to microbes. Environ Microbiol Rep 3:27–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Min B, Cheng S, Logan BE (2005) Thermodynamic analysis of a single chamber microbial fuel cell. Water Res 39:1675–1686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Moon H, Chang IS, Jang JK, Kim KS, Lee J, Lovitt RW, Kim BH (2005) On-line monitoring of low biochemical oxygen demand through continuous operation of a mediator-less microbial fuel cell. J Microbiol Biotechnol 15:192–196Google Scholar
  56. Nevin KP, Richter H, Covalla S, Johnson J, Woodard T, Orloff A, Jia H, Zhang M, Lovley D (2008) Power output and columbic efficiencies from biofilms of Geobacter sulfurreducens comparable to mixed community microbial fuel cells. Environ Microbiol 10:2505–2514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Oh S, Logan BE (2005) Hydrogen and electricity production from a food processing wastewater using fermentation and microbial fuel cell technologies. Water Res 39:4673–4682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Orta SV, Werner D, Varia J, Mgana S (2017) Microbial fuel cells for inexpensive continuous in-situ monitoring of groundwater quality. Water Res 117:9–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Palmer I, Seymour CM, Dams RA (1995) Application of fuel cells to power generation systems. Google PatentsGoogle Scholar
  60. Pant D, Van Bogaert G, Diels L, Vanbroekhoven K (2010) A review of the substrates used in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) for sustainable energy production. Bioresour Technol 101:1533–1543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Park D, Zeikus J (2002) Impact of electrode composition on electricity generation in a single-compartment fuel cell using Shewanella putrefaciens. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 59:58–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Park DH, Zeikus JG (2003) Improved fuel cell and electrode designs for producing electricity from microbial degradation. Biotechnol Bioeng 81:348–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Park D, Laivenieks M, Guettler M, Jain M, Zeikus J (1999) Microbial utilization of electrically reduced neutral red as the sole electron donor for growth and metabolite production. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:2912–2917Google Scholar
  64. Park HS, Kim BH, Kim HS, Kim HJ, Kim GT, Kim M, Chang IS, Park YK, Chang HI (2001) A novel electrochemically active and Fe (III)-reducing bacterium phylogenetically related to Clostridium butyricum isolated from a microbial fuel cell. Anaerobe 7:297–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pham TH, Aelterman P, Verstraete W (2009) Bioanode performance in bioelectrochemical systems: recent improvements and prospects. Trends Biotechnol 27:168–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Phung NT, Lee J, Kang KH, Chang IS, Gadd GM, Kim BH (2004) Analysis of microbial diversity in oligotrophic microbial fuel cells using 16S rDNA sequences. FEMS Microbiol Lett 233:77–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Qiao Y, Li CM, Bao SJ, Bao QL (2007) Carbon nanotube/polyaniline composite as anode material for microbial fuel cells. J Power Sources 170:79–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rabaey K, Verstraete W (2005) Microbial fuel cells: novel biotechnology for energy generation. Trends Biotechnol 23:291–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rabaey K, Van de Sompel K, Maignien L, Boon N, Aelterman P, Clauwaert P, De Schamphelaire L, Pham HT, Vermeulen J, Verhaege M (2006) Microbial fuel cells for sulfide removal Environmental science. Technology 40:5218–5224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Rahimnejad M, Mokhtarian N, Najafpour G, Daud W, Ghoreyshi A (2009) Low voltage power generation in a biofuel cell using anaerobic cultures. World Appl Sci J 6:1585–1588Google Scholar
  71. Rahimnejad M, Bakeri G, Najafpour G, Ghasemi M, Oh SE (2014) A review on the effect of proton exchange membranes in microbial fuel cells. Biofuel Res J 1:7–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rahimnejad M, Adhami A, Darvari S, Zirepour A, Oh SE (2015) Microbial fuel cell as new technology for bioelectricity generation: a review. Alex Eng J 54:745–756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ramanavicius A, Ramanaviciene A (2009) Hemoproteins in design of biofuel cells. Fuel Cells 9:25–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rhoads A, Beyenal H, Lewandowski Z (2005) Microbial fuel cell using anaerobic respiration as an anodic reaction and biomineralized manganese as a cathodic reactant. Environ Sci Technol 39:4666–4671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rismani-Yazdi H, Carver SM, Christy AD, Tuovinen OH (2008) Cathodic limitations in microbial fuel cells: an overview. J Power Sources 180:683–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Roller SD, Bennetto HP, Delaney GM, Mason JR, Stirling JL, Thurston CF (1984) Electron-transfer coupling in microbial fuel cells: 1. Comparison of redox-mediator reduction rates and respiratory rates of bacteria. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 34:3–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Rosenbaum M, Zhao F, Schröder U, Scholz F (2006) Interfacing electrocatalysis and biocatalysis with tungsten carbide: a high-performance, noble-metal-free microbial fuel cell. Angew Chem Int Ed 45:6658–6661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rozendal RA, Hamelers HV, Rabaey K, Keller J, Buisman CJ (2008) Towards practical implementation of bioelectrochemical wastewater treatment. Trends Biotechnol 26:450–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Selman J (1993) Research, development, and demonstration of molten carbonate fuel cell systems. In: Fuel cell systems. Springer, Boston, pp 345–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Steele BC, Heinzel A (2001) Materials for fuel-cell technologies. Nature 414:345–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Stein NE, Hamelers HV, Buisman CN (2010) Stabilizing the baseline current of a microbial fuel cell-based biosensor through overpotential control under non-toxic conditions. Bioelectrochemistry 78:87–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sun M, Sheng GP, Zhang L, Xia CR, Mu ZX, Liu XW, Wang HL, Yu HQ, Qi R, Yu T (2008) An MEC-MFC-coupled system for biohydrogen production from acetate. Environ Sci Technol 42:8095–8100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sun JZ, Kingori GP, Si RW, Zhai DD, Liao ZH, Sun DZ, Zheng T, Yong YC (2015) Microbial fuel cell-based biosensors for environmental monitoring: a review. Water Sci Technol 71:801–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Tender LM, Reimers CE, Stecher HA, Holmes DE, Bond DR, Lowy DA, Pilobello K, Fertig SJ, Lovley DR (2002) Harnessing microbially generated power on the seefloor. Nat Biotechnol 20:821–825CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Ter Heijne A, Hamelers HV, Wilde DV, Rozendal RA, Buisman CJ (2006) A bipolar membrane combined with ferric iron reduction as an efficient cathode system in microbial fuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 40:5200–5205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wang YP, Liu XW, Li WW, Li F, Wang YK, Sheng GP, Zeng RJ, Yu HQ (2012) A microbial fuel cell–membrane bioreactor integrated system for cost-effective wastewater treatment. Appl Energy 98:230–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Watanabe K (2008) Recent developments in microbial fuel cell technologies for sustainable bioenergy. J Biosci Bioeng 106:528–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Winter M, Brodd RJ (2004) What are batteries, fuel cells, and supercapacitors? Chem Rev 104:4245–4270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zhou M, Dong S (2011) Bioelectrochemical interface engineering: toward the fabrication of electrochemical biosensors, biofuel cells, and self-powered logic biosensors. Acc Chem Res 44:1232–1243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Zhou M, Jin T, Wu Z, Chi M, Gu T (2012) Microbial fuel cells for bioenergy and bioproducts. In: Sustainable bioenergy and bioproducts. Springer, London, pp 131–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zielke EA (2006) Thermodynamic analysis of a single chamber microbial fuel cell. Poster presentation, Humboldt State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  92. Zou Y, Xiang C, Yang L, Sun LX, Xu F, Cao Z (2008) A mediatorless microbial fuel cell using polypyrrole coated carbon nanotubes composite as anode material. Int J Hydrog Energy 33:4856–4862CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mostafa Rahimnejad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maryam Asghary
    • 2
  • Marjan Fallah
    • 1
  1. 1.Biofuel and Renewable Energy Research Center, Faculty of Chemical EngineeringBabol Noshirvani University of TechnologyBabolIran
  2. 2.Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of MazandaranBabolsarIran

Personalised recommendations