Intermittent load implementation in microbial fuel cells improves power performance

Walter, X. A., Greenman, J. and Ieropoulos, I. (2014) Intermittent load implementation in microbial fuel cells improves power performance. Bioressource Technology, 172. pp. 365-372. ISSN 0960-8524 Available from:


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This study reports on the response of small-scale MFCs to intermittent loading, in terms of power output over time. The aim was to understand the evolution with time of power output under different duty cycles, in conditions close to practical implementation. Inexpensive ceramic membranes were compared to cation exchange membranes, under continuous flow and with a pre-digester connected. Results show that at the minute-scale, all the duty cycles investigated, produced 78% higher power bursts from the MFCs (500 µW) than when under continuous loading (280 µW). These results were recorded from MFCs employing ceramic membranes, whereas the difference in performance for MFCs employing commercially available cation-exchange-membranes was insignificant. When normalising to daily energy production, only specific duty cycles produced more power than continuous loading. Furthermore, the introduction of a pre-digester increased the MFC power outputs 10-fold, thus confirming that separating fermentation from electro-active respiration, significantly enhances the system performance.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:ceramics, cation exchange membrane, pre-digester, continuous flow, intermittent loading, duty cycle
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology
ID Code:25147
Deposited By: Dr X. Walter
Deposited On:09 Mar 2015 11:09
Last Modified:03 May 2018 15:34

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