Simultaneous Investigation of Three Effective Parameters of Substrate, Microorganism Type and Reactor Design on Power Generation in a Dual-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cells

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Non‑Metallic Materials Research Group, Niroo Research Institute (NRI), End of Dadman Street, Tehran Province 1468613113, Iran

2 Young Researchers and Elite Club, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran

3 Energy Department, Materials and Energy Research Center, MeshkinDasht, Alborz Province, IR Iran

4 Non‑Metallic Materials Research Group, Niroo Research Institute (NRI), End of Dadman Street, Tehran Province 1468613113, Iran.

5 Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institution, University of Kashan, Ghotb‑ravandi Blvd, Kashan 8731753153, Iran


Background: The use of Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) has been expanded in recent years due to their ability in producing bioelectricity and treating wastewater simultaneously. However, there are still some obstacles to use MFC on an industrial scale. Regardless of the restriction of electrodes applied in the electron transferring process, there are also some other factors having strong roles in reducing the power density of MFCs.
Objectives: In this paper, the effect of three categories of limiting factors such as kinds of microorganisms (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Shewanella sp.), substrate type (Glucose and acetate), and features reactor components have been investigated on the power density generation. Simultaneous investigation of these parameters and demonstration of which parameters would induce more power density can help to improve the scale-up of MFCs.
Materials and Methods: Two types of MFCs with different designs were constructed and inoculated with pure cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae PTCC 5269 and Shewanella sp. The OCV (Open Circuit Voltage) and polarization curves of MFCs were measured when the quasi-steady-state condition was observed.
Results: Based on results, utilizing acetate in the presence of both microorganisms led to approximately 60% higher power density compared to glucose. The comparison of maximum power densities of different reactor designs indicated an approximately 17-70 % increase of power generation. However, the resultant shows modification of reactor design even when other parameters are not optimal can increase power density more than three times.
Conclusion: Actually, reactor design has the most important role in the power density with the MFC while the effects of substrate and microorganism parameters are not inappreciable.


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