• Open Access

Outlook for benefits of sediment microbial fuel cells with two bio-electrodes

Authors

  • Liesje De Schamphelaire,

    1. Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
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  • Korneel Rabaey,

    1. Advanced Water Management Centre, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
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  • Pascal Boeckx,

    1. Laboratory of Applied Physical Chemistry (ISOFYS), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
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  • Nico Boon,

    1. Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
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  • Willy Verstraete

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
      *E-mail willy.verstraete@ugent.be; Tel. (+32) 9 264 59 76; Fax. (+32) 9 264 62 48.
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*E-mail willy.verstraete@ugent.be; Tel. (+32) 9 264 59 76; Fax. (+32) 9 264 62 48.

Summary

The benefits of sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) go beyond energy generation for low-power applications. Aside from producing electrical energy, SMFCs can enhance the oxidation of reduced compounds at the anode, thus bringing about the removal of excessive or unwanted reducing equivalents from submerged soils. Moreover, an SMFC could be applied to control redox-dependent processes in sediment layers. Several cathodic reactions that may drive these sediment oxidation reactions are examined. Special attention is given to two biologically mediated cathodic reactions, respectively employing an oxygen reduction and a manganese cycle. Both reactions imply a low cost and a high electrode potential and are of interest for reactor-type MFCs as well as for SMFCs.

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