Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 30, Issue 11, pp 1947–1951 | Cite as

Energy recovery from energy rich vegetable products with microbial fuel cells

  • Peter Clauwaert
  • David van der Ha
  • Willy Verstraete
Original Research Paper


Two types of rapidly biodegradable vegetable products (the liquid fraction of clover and the glycerol-containing sidestream from biodiesel production) were selected for anodic oxidation in microbial fuel cells (MFC) equipped with a biocathode. As benchmark references, five abundant amino-acids in plant sap (l-glutamine, l-glutamic acid, l-asparagine, l-aspartic acid and l-alanine) were tested separately. Their performance was in the same order of magnitude of clover sap oxidation (145–225 A m−3 MFC; 39–95 W m−3 MFC). Glycerol oxidation resulted in competitive current and power outputs (111 A m−3 MFC; 23 W m−3 MFC).


Bio-electrochemical systems Bioenergy Biological cathode Glycerol Vegetable substrate 



The useful comments of Peter Aelterman, Hai The Pham and Tuba Hande Ergüder are kindly acknowledged. This research was funded by a Ph.D grant (IWT Grant 53305) of the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation through Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT-Vlaanderen).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Clauwaert
    • 1
  • David van der Ha
    • 1
  • Willy Verstraete
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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