Challenges in the application of microbial fuel cells to wastewater treatment and energy production: A mini review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2018, 639 pp. 910 - 920
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Wastewater is now considered to be a vital reusable source of water reuse and saving energy. However, current wastewater has multiple limitations such as high energy costs, large quantities of residuals being generated and lacking in potential resources. Recently, great attention has been paid to microbial fuel cells (MFCs) due to their mild operating conditions where a variety of biodegradable substrates can serve as fuel. MFCs can be used in wastewater treatment facilities to break down organic matter, and they have also been analysed for application as a biosensor such as a sensor for biological oxygen which demands monitoring. MFCs represent an innovation technology solution that is simple and rapid. Despite the advantages of this technology, there are still practical barriers to consider including low electricity production, current instability, high internal resistance and costly materials used. Thus, many problems must be overcome and doing this requires a more detailed analysis of energy production, consumption, and application. Currently, real-world applications of MFCs are limited due to their low power density level of only several thousand mW/m2. Efforts are being made to improve the performance and reduce the construction and operating costs of MFCs. This paper explores several aspects of MFCs such as anode, cathode and membrane, and in an effort to overcome the practical challenges of this system.
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