Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 32, Issue 12, pp 1809–1814 | Cite as

Cattle wastes as substrates for bioelectricity production via microbial fuel cells

  • X. Zheng
  • N. Nirmalakhandan
Original Research Paper


A new 2 l scale microbial fuel cell (MFC) configuration was developed to generate bioelectricity from particulate substrates. Voltage and power densities generated in this MFC fed with sucrose, particulate cattle manure, and manure wash-water as the substrates were evaluated in batch mode, with and without external mediators. Voltages averaged 0.5 V in open circuit, and 0.4 V under a resistive load of 470 Ω. Power densities (67 to 215 mW/m2) were comparable to previous work that had used liquid wastes as substrates. Based on the energy yield per unit mass of feedstock (~10 kJ/kg wet manure), cattle manure has limited potential to serve as a feedstock for electricity production via MFCs.


Bioelectricity Dairy wastes Microbial fuel cells Power density 



This study was funded in part by the Office of Vice President for Research at New Mexico State University and by the National Science Foundation’s CBET Division, under Grant No. 0607175.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil Engineering DepartmentNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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