Biological and microbial fuel cells

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Scott, Keith ; Yu, Eileen Hao ; Ghangrekar, Makarand Madhao ; Erable, Benjamin ; Duţeanu, Narcis Mihai (2012)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-087872-0.00412-1
  • Subject: Biotechnologies | Energie électrique | Biofuel cells | Enzyme immobilization | Enzymes | Mediator | Microbial | Redox polymer

Biological fuel cells have attracted increasing interest in recent years because of their applications in environmental treatment, energy recovery, and small-scale power sources. Biological fuel cells are capable of producing electricity in the same way as a chemical fuel cell: there is a constant supply of fuel into the anode and a constant supply of oxidant into the cathode; however, typically the fuel is a hydrocarbon compound present in the wastewater, for example. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are also a promising technology for efficient wastewater treatment and generating energy as direct electricity for onsite remote application. MFCs are obtained when catalyst layer used into classical fuel cells (polymer electrolyte fuel cell) is replaced with electrogenic bacteria. A particular case of biological fuel cell is represented by enzyme-based fuel cells, when the catalyst layer is obtained by immobilization of enzyme on the electrode surface. These cells are of particular interest in biomedical research and health care and in environmental monitoring and are used as the power source for portable electronic devices. The technology developed for fabrication of enzyme electrodes is described. Different enzyme immobilization methods using layered structures with self-assembled monolayers and entrapment of enzymes in polymer matrixes are reviewed. The performances of enzymatic biofuel cells are summarized and approaches on further development to overcome current challenges are discussed. This innovative technology will have a major impact and benefit to medical science and clinical research, health care management, and energy production from renewable sources. Applications and advantages of using MFCs for wastewater treatment are described, including organic matter removal efficiency and electricity generation. Factors affecting the performance of MFC are summarized and further development needs are accentuated.
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