Essential Data and Techniques for Conducting Microbial Fuel Cell and other Types of Bioelectrochemical System Experiments

Authors

  • Bruce E. Logan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802 (USA), Fax: (+1) 814-863-7304
    • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802 (USA), Fax: (+1) 814-863-7304
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Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and other bioelectrochemical systems are new technologies that require expertise in a variety of technical areas, ranging from electrochemistry to biological wastewater treatment. There are certain data and critical information that should be included in every MFC study, such as specific surface area of the electrodes, solution conductivity, and power densities normalized to electrode surface area and volumes. Electrochemical techniques such as linear sweep voltammetry can be used to understand the performance of the MFC, but extremely slow scans are required for these biological systems compared to more traditional fuel cells. In this Minireview, the critical information needed for MFC studies is provided with examples of how results can be better conveyed through a full description of materials, the use of proper controls, and inclusion of a more complete electrochemical analysis.

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