Skip to main content


Log in

Impact of wastewater volume on cathode environment of the multi-anode shared cathode and standard single anode/cathode microbial fuel cells

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Chemical Papers Aims and scope Submit manuscript


To examine the impact of wastewater volume on the ionic strength of an electron acceptor, the performance of a 1000 mL multi (4)-anode shared single cathode MFC (MFC 1) was investigated and its performance was compared to two 250 mL standard single anode/cathode MFCs, the first (MFC 2) with the same cathode surface area as MFC 1: 84cm2 and the second (MFC 3) with 42cm2. The performance of the MFCs was evaluated under high and low external resistances to elucidate the differences in MFCs’ performance. MFC 2 (4.36 mW/cm2 at 0.0102 mA/cm2) produced 2.8-times and 1.02-times higher in power density than that of MFC 1 and MFC 3, respectively. The multi (4)-anode shared cathode MFC (MFC 1) produced the lowest internal resistance (100 Ω), which was more than 3-times lower than MFC 2 and MFC 3. At the lower external resistance of 100 Ω, a more distinct difference between the multi-anode shared cathode MFC and the single anode/cathode MFCs was revealed in continuous current and power generation (1.2 mA and 153.76 mW), which were 1.7-times and 2.7-times than that of MFC 2 and MFC 3, respectively. MFC 1 also attained a 1.1-times higher COD removal efficiency and treated 1000 mL of wastewater without any significant difference in anolyte/catholyte conductivity and pH, compared to MFC 2 and MFC 3 which only treated 250 mL of wastewater over the same time. To deplete the cationic conductivity of the shared single cathode in MFC 1, an estimated 7.945 mL of wastewater is required.

Graphical abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others

Data availability

Data and materials will be made available on request.



Microbial fuel cell


Chemical oxygen demand

MFC 1:

4-anode/1-shared cathode (84cm2) MFC

MFC 2:

1-anode/1-cathode (84cm2) MFC

MFC 3:

1-anode/1-cathode (42cm2) MFC


Electrical conductivity


Organization for economic cooperation and development




n th number of the anode electrode

MFC 1-A1:

Anode 1 of MFC 1


Download references


We thank Assoc. Prof. Huang Jingyu and Dr. Li Guang for the provision of a laboratory space and materials during the COVID pandemic for the successful completion of these experiments.


This research was supported by Haijian Environmental Engineering & Design Co. Ltd., Changchun.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



PAO and LG were involved in data curation. PAO was involved in writing—original draft. LG, JH, HJ and EN were involved in writing—review & editing. JH performed methodology and software. HJ was involved in formal analysis, visualization and supervision.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Prince Atta Opoku or Li Guang.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Consent for publication

All authors reviewed and approved the manuscript for publication.

Consent to participate

Not applicable.

Ethical approval

Not applicable.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (XLSX 689 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Opoku, P.A., Guang, L., Huang, J. et al. Impact of wastewater volume on cathode environment of the multi-anode shared cathode and standard single anode/cathode microbial fuel cells. Chem. Pap. 76, 6309–6321 (2022).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: