Electric power generation by a submersible microbial fuel cell equipped with a membrane electrode assembly

Booki Min, Finn Willy Poulsen, Anders Thygesen, Irini Angelidaki

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Membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) were incorporated into the cathode chamber of a submersible microbial fuel cell (SMFC). A close contact of the electrodes could produce high power output from SMFC in which anode and cathode electrodes were connected in parallel. In polarization test, the maximum power density was 631mW/m2 at current density of 1772mA/m2 at 82Ω. With 180-Ω external resistance, one set of the electrodes on the same side could generate more power density of 832±4mW/m2 with current generation of 1923±4mA/m2. The anode, inclusive a biofilm behaved ohmic, whereas a Tafel type behavior was observed for the oxygen reduction. The various impedance contributions from electrodes, electrolyte and membrane were analyzed and identified by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Air flow rate to the cathode chamber affected microbial voltage generation, and higher power generation was obtained at relatively low air flow less than 2mL/min.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Pages (from-to)412-417
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Membrane electrode assembly
  • Submersible microbial fuel cell
  • Voltage generation
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy

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