Minimizing losses in bio-electrochemical systems: the road to applications
- 1.9k Downloads
Bio-electrochemical systems (BESs) enable microbial catalysis of electrochemical reactions. Plain electrical power production combined with wastewater treatment by microbial fuel cells (MFCs) has been the primary application purpose for BESs. However, large-scale power production and a high chemical oxygen demand conversion rates must be achieved at a benchmark cost to make MFCs economical competitive in this context. Recently, a number of valuable oxidation or reduction reactions demonstrating the versatility of BESs have been described. Indeed, BESs can produce hydrogen, bring about denitrification, or reductive dehalogenation. Moreover, BESs also appear to be promising in the field of online biosensors. To effectively apply BESs in practice, both biological and electrochemical losses need to be further minimized. At present, the costs of reactor materials have to be decreased, and the volumetric biocatalyst activity in the systems has to be increased substantially. Furthermore, both the ohmic cell resistance and the pH gradients need to be minimized. In this review, these losses and constraints are discussed from an electrochemical viewpoint. Finally, an overview of potential applications and innovative research lines is given for BESs.
KeywordsBiofuel cell Bioenergy Biocatalyzed electrolysis Overpotentials Biocatalysts Ohmic resistance
The useful comments of Nico Boon are kindly acknowledged. This research was funded by a PhD grant (IWT grant 53305) of the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT-Vlaanderen), a postdoctoral grant (EX2006-0963) from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science and the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO project G.0172.05).
- Aelterman P, Rabaey K, Clauwaert P, Verstraete W (2006a) Microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment. Water Sci Technol 54:9–15Google Scholar
- Aelterman P, Rabaey K, De Schamphelaire L, Clauwaert P, Boon N, Verstraete W (2008b) Microbial fuel cells as an engineered ecosystem. In: Wall J, Harwood CS, Demain AL (eds) Bioenergy. ASM, Washington, DC, USA, pp 307–320Google Scholar
- Blake RC, Howard GT, McGinness S (1994) Enhanced yields of iron-oxidizing bacteria by in-situ electrochemical reduction of soluble iron in the growth-medium. Appl Environ Microbiol 60:2704–2710Google Scholar
- Freguia S, Rabaey K, Yuan ZG, Keller J (2008) Sequential anode-cathode configuration improves cathodic oxygen reduction and effluent quality of microbial fuel cells. Water Res 42:1387–1396Google Scholar
- Park DH, Laivenieks M, Guettler MV, Jain MK, Zeikus JG (1999) Microbial utilization of electrically reduced neutral red as the sole electron donor for growth and metabolite production. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:2912–2917Google Scholar
- Pham TH, Boon N, Aelterman P, Clauwaert P, De Schamphelaire L, Vanhaecke L, De Maeyer K, Hofte M, Verstraete W, Rabaey K (2008) Metabolites produced by Pseudomonas sp enable a Gram-positive bacterium to achieve extracellular electron transfer. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 77:1119–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rabaey K, Read S, Clauwaert P, Freguia S, Bond PL, Blackall LL, Keller J (2008) Cathodic oxygen reduction catalyzed by bacteria in microbial fuel cells. ISME J 2:519–527.Google Scholar
- Rittmann BE, McCarty PL (2001) Environmental biotechnology: principles and applications. McGraw-Hill, New York, USA, pp 434–437Google Scholar
- Rozendal R, Sleutels THJA, Hamelers HVM, Buisman CJN (2007a) Effect of the type of ion exchange membrane on performance, ion transport, and pH in biocatalyzed electrolysis of wastewater. In: Proceedings of the 11th IWA World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion: Bioenergy for Our Future. PP3A.3, IWA, Brisbane, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
- Serway RA, Beichner RJ (2000) Physics for scientists and engineers with modern physics. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia, USA, pp 846–848Google Scholar
- Verstraete W, van Vaerenbergh E (1986) Aerobic activated sludge. In: Rehm HJ, Reed G (eds) Biotechnology, vol. 8. VCH, Weinheim, Germany, pp 43–112Google Scholar