Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 667–675 | Cite as

Effect of separator and inoculum type on electricity generation and microbial community in single-chamber microbial fuel cells

  • Jaecheul Yu
  • Younghyun Park
  • Taeho LeeEmail author
Original Paper


Single-chamber microbial fuel cell (SMFC)-I consisted of 4 separator-electrode assemblies (SEAs) with two types of cation exchange membrane (CEM: Nafion and CMI 7000) and an anion exchange membrane (AEM: AMI 7001). SMFC-II consisted of 4 SEAs with Nafion and three types of nonwoven fabric. SMFC-I and -II were inoculated with anaerobic digested and activated sludge, respectively, and operated under fed-batch mode. In SMFC I, AEM-SEA showed a maximum power density (PDmax). Nafion-SEA showed a PDmax in SMFC II, which was similar to that of Nafion–SEA of SMFC I. Although different bacteria were developed in SMFC-I (Deltaproteobacteria and Firmicutes) and SMFC-II (Gammaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes), the inoculum type little affects electricity generation. Variations of pH and oxygen in biofilm have influenced microbial community structure and electricity generation according to the electrode and separator material. Although the electricity generation of non-woven fabric-SEA was less than that of Nafion-SEA, the use of non-woven fabrics is expected to reduce the construction and operating costs of MFCs.


Electricity production Inoculum Nonwoven fabric Separator Single-chamber microbial fuel cell 



This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2010-0021758).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MFC R&BD CenterK-water InstituteDaejeonKorea
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPusan National UniversityBusanKorea

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