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Progress and Recent Trends in Microbial Fuel Cells - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444640178, 9780444640185

Progress and Recent Trends in Microbial Fuel Cells

1st Edition

Authors: Patit Kundu Kingshuk Dutta
Paperback ISBN: 9780444640178
eBook ISBN: 9780444640185
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 9th June 2018
Page Count: 464
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Progress and Recent Trends in Microbial Fuel Cells provides an in-depth analysis of the fundamentals, working principles, applications and advancements (including commercialization aspects) made in the field of Microbial Fuel Cells research, with critical analyses and opinions from experts around the world. Microbial Fuel cell, as a potential alternative energy harnessing device, has been progressing steadily towards fruitful commercialization. Involvements of electrolyte membranes and catalysts have been two of the most critical factors toward achieving this progress. Added applications of MFCs in areas of bio-hydrogen production and wastewater treatment have made this technology extremely attractive and important. 


Key Features

  • Reviews and compares MFCs with other alternative energy harnessing devices, particularly in comparison to other fuel cells
  • Analyses developments of electrolyte membranes, electrodes, catalysts and biocatalysts as critical components of MFCs, responsible for their present and future progress
  • Includes commercial aspects of MFCs in terms of (i) generation of electricity, (ii) microbial electrolysis cell, (iii) microbial desalination cell, and (iv) wastewater and sludge treatment


Chemists and biochemical engineering students and researchers in alternative energy, fuel cells, microbial fuel cells, membranes, waste-water treatment and bio-hydrogen

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to microbial fuel cells

1.1. Background and significance

1.2. Working principle

1.3. Components and features

1.4. Technologies based on MFCs

1.5. Future expectations from MFCs


Author(s): Kingshuk Dutta and Patit P. Kundu

Chapter 2: Performance trends and status of microbial fuel cells

2.1. Introduction

2.2. Comparison with hydrogen fuel cells

2.3. Comparison with direct alcohol fuel cells

2.4. Comparison with passive alcohol fuel cells

2.5. Comparison with solid oxide fuel cells

2.6. Comparison with molten carbonate fuel cells

2.7. Comparison with alkaline fuel cells

2.8. Comparison with phosphoric acid fuel cells

2.9. Comparison with existing battery technologies and alternative energy resources

2.10. Further information

2.11. Relevance and outlook


Author(s): Vikash Kumar, Ruchira Rudra, Subrata Hait, Piyush Kumar and Patit P. Kundu

Chapter 3: Configurations of microbial fuel cells

3.1. Introduction

3.2. Normal configuration and general requirements

3.2.1. Uncoupled bioreactor MFC

3.2.2. Integrated bioreactor MFC

3.2.3. MFC with direct electron transfer

3.2.4. MFC with mediated electron transport

3.3. General requirements

3.3.1. Anode

3.3.2. Cathode

3.3.3. Membranes

3.4. Easy to build fuel cell configurations

3.4.1. Dual chamber H-type MFC

3.4.2. Dual chamber MFC

3.4.3. Dual chamber MFC with water soluble catholytes

3.4.4. Simple air cathode MFC Cube type MFC Cylindrical air cathode MFC

3.5. Innovative designs

3.5.1. Flat plate MFC

3.5.2. Biosolar MFC

3.5.3. Tubular packed bed MFC for continuous operation

3.5.4. Stacked MFC

3.5.5. Membraneless MFC

3.5.6. Biocathode MFC

3.5.7. Origami star inspired fuel cell

3.5.8. 3D paper based MFC

3.6. Reactors design and efficiency

3.7. Operation and assessment

3.8. Applications

3.9. Future directions

3.10. Conclusion


Author(s): Arpita Nandy and Patit P. Kundu

Chapter 4: Polymer electrolyte membranes for microbial fuel cells: Part A. Nafion-based membranes

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Functions of the PEM in MFC

4.3. Property requirements of the membrane materials

4.4. Fluorinated membrane structure required for efficient MFC operation

4.5. Present research on Nafion-based membranes

4.5.1. Nafion blends and composites

4.5.2. Nafion/fluorinated polymers

4.5.3. Others PEMs

4.6. Membrane characterizations

4.6.1. Structural characterizations X-ray diffraction Imaging techniques: Scanning electron and transmission electron microscopies Porosity

4.6.2. Ion exchange capacity

4.6.3. Proton conductivity

4.6.4. Mechanical characterizations

4.7. Performance evaluations

4.8. Existing challenges of PEM technology

4.8.1. Ohmic resistance

4.8.2. Oxygen diffusion

4.8.3. Substrate crossover

4.8.4. Biofouling

4.9. Future directions


Author(s): Piyush Kumar, Ram P. Bharti, Vikash Kumar and Patit P. Kundu

Chapter 5: Polymer electrolyte membranes for microbial fuel cells: Part B. Non-nafion alternative membranes

5.1. Introduction

5.2. Present research of non-Nafion-based membranes

5.3. Conclusion, existing challenges and future perspectives


Author(s): Suparna Das, Kingshuk Dutta, Swapan K. Bhattacharya and Patit P. Kundu

Chapter 6: Bipolar membranes for microbial fuel cells

6.1. Introduction: Definition and general description of the use of bipolar membranes in microbial fuel cells

6.2. Preparation and application of bipolar membranes in MFCs

6.3. Conclusion, existing challenges and future perspectives


Author(s): Kingshuk Dutta and Patit P. Kundu, Prasenjit Bhumia

Chapter 7: Low-cost solutions for fabrication of microbial fuel cells: Ceramic separator and electrode modifications

7.1. Introduction

7.2. Fundamentals of MFCs and its components

7.2.1. Anode materials Anode modification using conductive polymers Anode modification using graphene and CNT Anode modification using metal oxides Anode modification by electrochemical oxidation

7.2.2. Cathode materials

7.2.3. Current collectors

7.2.4. Separators

7.3. Properties of clay used in ceramic separators

7.3.1. Mechanism of cation exchange through clay

7.3.2. Strengthening the clay based separators

7.3.3. Modification in the clay mineral composition to enhance cation exchange

7.3.4. Ceramic separator as low-cost solution for electrochemical devices

7.3.5. Performance of MFCs with ceramic separator

7.4. Importance of ORR catalysts and related mechanism: Options of low-cost cathode catalysts

7.4.1. Non-metal and metal impregnated carbon catalysts

7.4.2. Transition metal oxides

7.4.3. Metal doped complex organic catalysts

7.4.4. Cost analysis of catalysts

7.5. Scalable MFCs and stacking

7.6. Concluding remarks


Author(s): Md. T. Noori, Pritha Chatterjee, M. M. Ghangrekar and C. K. Mukherjee

Chapter 8: Electrodes for microbial fuel cells

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Electrode materials and their desired properties

8.2.1. Conductivity

8.2.2. Durability and stability

8.2.3. Porosity and surface area

8.2.4. Biocompatible nature

8.2.5. Cost and availability

8.3. Electrode material types

8.3.1. Carbon-based electrode materials

8.3.2. Metal electrodes

8.3.3. Composite electrode materials

8.4. Surface modification of electrodes

8.4.1. Modification with metals or metal oxides

8.4.2. Modification with polymers

8.4.3. Modification with composite materials

8.5. Electrode cost

8.6. Existing challenges and future perspective


Author(s): Usha Kumari, Ravi Shankar and Prasenjit Mondal

Chapter 9: Anode catalysts and biocatalysts for microbial fuel cells

9.1. Introduction

9.2. Functions of the catalysts

9.3. Property requirements of the catalysts

9.4. Present research

9.4.1. Materials of electrocatalysts Carbonaceous anode based materials Metal based materials Conducting polymers

9.4.2. Microbes Bacterial species used as MFC biocatalyst Yeast in MFC Mixed community

9.5. Catalyst characterizations

9.5.1. 16S rRNA

9.5.2. DGGE

9.5.3. FISH

9.5.4. RFLP, SSCP and ARISA

9.5.5. qRT-PCR

9.5.6. GS-FLX

9.5.7. QCM

9.5.8. FAME

9.6. Performance evaluations

9.6.1. Anode potential

9.6.2. Cyclic voltammetry

9.6.3. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)

9.7. Conclusion


Author(s): Yuan Li, Pier-Luc Tremblay and Tian Zhang

Chapter 10: Propellants of microbial fuel cells

10.1. Introduction

10.2. Nutrient requirements of MFC microorganisms

10.3. General characteristics of different fuels

10.3.1. Simple or defined substrates Glucose Acetate Fructose Sucrose

10.3.2. Complex defined substrates Starch Cellulose Others

10.3.3. Complex undefined substrates Activated sludge and algal biomass Agro industrial wastewater Brewery industry wastewater Dairy industry wastewater Domestic and municipal wastewater Food processing industry wastewater Livestock industry wastewater Mining industry wastewater Paper plant wastewater Petrochemical industry wastewater Pharmaceutical industry wastewater Refinery and distillery industry waste water Textile industry wastewater

10.4. Mechanism of fuel oxidation in MFC

10.5. Comparison of the efficiency of different fuels

10.6. Future aspects


Author(s): Anwesha Mukherjee, Rushika Patel and Nasreen S. Munshi

Chapter 11: Exoelectrogens for microbial fuel cells

11.1. Introduction

11.2. Mechanisms of electron transfer

11.2.1. Mediated electron transfer Endogenous electron shuttles Artificial electron shuttles Primary metabolites MET mechanisms for biofilms at the cathode

11.2.2. Direct electron transfer G. sulfurreducens: OMC pathway S. oneidensis: Mtr-pathway DET in other organisms DET at the cathode

11.2.3. Nanowires

11.3. Studies using known exoelectrogenic strains

11.4. Tools for studying exoelectrogens

11.4.1. Electrochemical Analysis

11.4.2. Microscopy

11.4.3. Biological analysis

11.4.4. Raman spectroscopy

11.5. Operational conditions

11.6. Future directions

11.7. Sources of further information


Author(s): Jeff R. Beegle and Abhijeet P. Borole

Chapter 12: Biofilm formation within microbial fuel cells

12.1. Introduction

12.2. Mechanism of biofilm formation

12.3. Electroactive biofilms

12.3.1. Challenges of electroactive biofilms

12.3.2. Factors affecting electroactive biofilm formation System configuration Operating conditions Biological parameters

12.4. Conclusion and future directions

12.5. Sources of further information


Author(s): Ramya Veerubhotla, Jhansi L Varanasi and Debabrata Das

Chapter 13: Genetic approaches for improving performance of microbial fuel cells: Part A

13.1. Introduction

13.2. Electron transfer in life

13.3. Discovery of genes involved in electron transfer in MFCs

13.4. Metabolic pathways employed in MFC systems

13.4.1. Geobacter spp. General features Procedures assayed and results Future possibilities

13.4.2. Shewanella spp. General features Procedures assayed and results Future possibilities

13.4.3. Other heterotrophic microorganisms General features Procedures assayed and results Future possibilities

13.5. Other metabolic pathways used in MFC systems

13.5.1. Chemolithoautotrophic metabolism

13.5.2. Photoautotrophic metabolism

13.6. Naturally assembled microbial communities to improve MFC performance

13.7. Artificially assembled anodic communities to improve MFC performance

13.8. Future directions

13.9. Sources of further information


Author(s): M. J. González-Pabón, F. Figueredo, E. L. M. Figuerola, A. Saavedra, L. Erijman and E. Cortón

Chapter 14: Genetic approaches for improving performance of microbial fuel cells: Part B

14.1. Introduction

14.2. Substrate processing and accessibility

14.2.1. Directed evolution of redox enzymes

14.2.2. Surface-display systems Bacterial surface-display Yeast surface-display

14.2.3. Bioremediation of contaminated soil and water

14.3. Improvement of electron transfer

14.3.1. Internal electron transfer

14.3.2. External electron transfer

14.4. Metabolic engineering

14.5. Enzyme and protein engineering

14.5.1. Protein immobilization

14.5.2. Engineered pilin

14.6. Concluding remarks


Author(s): Orr Schlesinger and Lital Alfonta

Chapter 15: Kinetics and mass transfer within microbial fuel cells

15.1. Introduction

15.2. Modeling approaches for MFCs

15.3. Case study - 1D analytical model for continuous operation

15.3.1. Model structure and flux balance

15.3.2. Model assumptions

15.3.3. Governing equation and boundary conditions Mass transfer Kinetics – Anode and cathode

15.4. Adaptation for batch operation

15.5. Modifications for a single chamber configuration

15.6. Summary



Author(s): V. B. Oliveira, J. Vilas Boas and A. M. F. R. Pinto

Chapter 16: Biochemistry and electrochemistry at the electrodes of microbial fuel cells

16.1. Introduction

16.2. Biochemistry and electrochemistry at the electrodes

16.2.1. Underlying catabolic pathways for energy generation from microorganisms

16.2.2. Distinguished electron transport mechanism Direct electron transport Electron transport through mediators Electron transport through conductive nanowires

16.2.3. Proton transport mechanism in MFCs Cation exchange membrane (CEM) Anion exchange membrane (AEM) Bipolar membrane (BPM)

16.3. Underlying factors that affect the MFC performance

16.3.1. Ohmic losses

16.3.2. Activation losses

16.3.3. Bacterial metabolic losses

16.3.4. Concentration losses

16.4. Anode-microbe interactions

16.5. Summary


Author(s): Prasenjit Bhunia, Kingshuk Dutta

Chapter 17: Wastewater biorefinery based on microbial electrolysis cell: Opportunities and challenges

17.1. Introduction

17.1.1. Global energy and water security

17.1.2. Wastewater-based biorefinery

17.1.3. Microbial electrolysis cell (MEC)

17.1.4. H2 as fuel

17.1.5. Aim of the chapter

17.2. Bioelectrochemical system (BES)

17.2.1. History of BES

17.2.2. Types of BES MFC MEC

17.2.3. MEC systems and materials used for H2 production Cathode and anode MEC membranes MEC system for tubing and gas collection

17.3. MEC configurations and factors affecting H2 production

17.3.1. Double-chambered MEC systems High-performance double-chambered MEC Bio-electrochemically assisted microbial reactor (BEAMR) Concentric tubular double-chambered MEC Enriched MEC bio-cathodes using sediment MFC bio-anodes

17.3.2. Single-chambered MEC systems Single-chambered MEC with a flat carbon cathode and brush anode Cathode on top single-chambered MEC Up-flow single-chambered MEC Bottle-type single-chambered MEC

17.3.3. Factors affecting production of H2 in MEC systems pH Temperature Catalyst Conductivity of solution

17.4. Thermodynamics of H2 production and MEC performance

17.4.1. H2 production and measurement in MEC

17.4.2. H2 yield of MEC

17.4.3. Energy yield of MEC

17.5. Challenges and opportunities in MEC technology

17.5.1. Energy losses in MEC system Activation losses in MEC system Coulombic losses in MEC system Concentration losses in MEC system

17.5.2. Methanogenesis in MEC

17.5.3. Economics of MEC

17.5.4. Future outlooks of MEC Technological approach Methanogenesis inhibition Pure culture versus mixed consortia studies Electrode selection

17.6. Conclusions


Author(s): M. Waqas, M. Rehan, A. S. Aburiazaiza and A. S. Nizami

Chapter 18: Microbial fuel cells as a platform technology for sustainable wastewater treatment

18.1. Introduction

18.2. Wastewater treatment and energy needs

18.2.1. General overview of wastewater treatment

18.2.2. Energy consumption in wastewater treatment

18.3. Opportunities for energy recovery and savings in wastewater treatment

18.3.1. Hydraulic energy recovery

18.3.2. Heat recovery

18.3.3. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems

18.3.4. Biogas generation (anaerobic digestion, AD)

18.3.5. Microalgae growth for biofuels

18.3.6. Anammox process (novel configurations)

18.4. MFCs - Efficiency evaluations

18.4.1. Carbon removal

18.4.2. Nutrient removal

18.4.3. Energy efficiency Estimated energy benefits Comparison with aeration systems Normalized energy recovery concept Energy consumption in MFCs Energy payback time

18.5. Existing challenges

18.5.1. Microbial kinetics

18.5.2. Electron acceptors

18.5.3. Electrode materials

18.5.4. Understanding of power density (process reliability and stability)

18.5.5. Other factors

18.6. Future directions

18.6.1. Process development

18.6.2. Resource recovery options

18.6.3. Large scale development

18.6.4. Integrated processes Integrating with membrane processes Integrating with aeration tank in conventional wastewater treatment plant Integration with other bioelectrochemical systems

18.6.5. Biorefinery configurations

18.7. Summary


Author(s): Veera G. Gude

Chapter 19: Microbial desalination cell technology: Functions and future prospects

19.1. Introduction

19.1.1. Water-energy crisis in desalination

19.1.2. Microbial desalination cell – harvester of chemical energy

19.2. Essential concepts of microbial desalination cell

19.2.1. Operative principle

19.2.2. Performance factors: Analyses and calculations

19.2.3. Microbial desalination cells configurations Air-cathode microbial desalination cell Biocathode microbial desalination cell Stacked microbial desalination cell Recirculation microbial desalination cell Microbial electrolysis desalination cell Capacitive microbial desalination cell Upflow microbial desalination cell Osmotic microbial desalination cell Bipolar membrane microbial desalination cell Decoupled microbial desalination cell Ion-exchange resin coupled microbial desalination cell Five-chambered biocathode microbial desalination cell Modularized filtration air cathode microbial desalination cell

19.3. Materials used in microbial desalination cells

19.3.1. Exoelectrogens

19.3.2. Substrates

19.4. Performance and efficiency of microbial desalination cell

19.4.1. Polarization and power density

19.4.2. COD removal efficiency

19.4.3. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy

19.4.4. Cell potential (emf), concentration gradient and water transport

19.4.5. pH and electrolyte conductivity

19.4.6. External and internal resistance

19.4.7. Hydraulic retention time

19.5. Functional applications and scaleup

19.5.1. Wastewater treatment and water desalination

19.5.2. Water softening and metal ions removal

19.5.3. Groundwater remediation

19.6. Challenges to MDC technologies

19.7. Conclusions


Author(s): Carmalin Sophia A. and Jaydevsinh M. Gohil

Chapter 20: Coupled systems based on microbial fuel cells

20.1. Introduction

20.2. MFC-coupled wastewater treatment and the potential of MFC-MBRs

20.3. MFC-complemented anaerobic digestion

20.4. Conclusions


Author(s): Nándor Nemestóthy

Chapter 21: Commercialization aspects of microbial fuel cells

21.1. Introduction

21.2. Potentials of MFCs for commercialization

21.3. Prospective sector(s) for MFC applications

21.3.1. Wastewater treatment

21.3.2. Powering low energy devices

21.3.3. Robotics

21.4. Global status of MFCs commercialization / market leaders in MFCs

21.5. Current research towards commercialization

21.6. Challenges towards fruitful commercialization (lab to market bottleneck)

21.7. Future predictions and directions



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© Elsevier 2018
9th June 2018
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About the Authors

Patit Kundu

Dr. Patit Paban Kundu has been a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology—Roorkee since 2016. After completing his BSc in chemistry (1986), and BTech (1989) and MTech (1992) in plastics and rubber technology from University of Calcutta, he joined the group of Prof. D.K. Tripathy at the Indian Institute of Technology—Kharagpur’s Rubber Technology Center for carrying out his doctoral research. Following his PhD in 1996, he joined as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Technology, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, India, and was elevated to the position of professor in 2007. In 2009, he moved to University of Calcutta as a professor in the Department of Polymer Science and Technology, and stayed there until 2016. He did his postdoctoral studies in South Korea at the Inha University with Prof. S. Choe (2001–02) and at the Yonsei University with Prof. Y.G. Shul (2006), and in the United States at Iowa State University with Prof. R.C. Larock (2003). He is a polymer chemist and technologist and has been actively working in the field of fuel cells as one of his areas of expertise. To date, he has published about 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has also contributed to eight book chapters and numerous conference proceedings. His interest in fuel cells includes microbial, direct methanol, and hydrogen fuel cells, and ranges from finding novel materials for fabricating membranes, electrodes, catalysts, and catalyst supports to the design of membrane electrode assemblies and flow channels. He has also successfully undertaken various national level projects in areas including microbial and direct methanol fuel cells.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology – Roorkee, India

Kingshuk Dutta

Dr. Kingshuk Dutta has obtained his BSc in chemistry in 2006, and BTech (in 2009), MTech (in 2011), and PhD (in 2016) in polymer science and technology from University of Calcutta. He carried out his doctoral research as a senior research fellow, funded by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (India), in the group of Prof. Patit P. Kundu from 2012 to 2016. After completing his PhD, he worked as a national postdoctoral fellow (2016–17), funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) [Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India], in the group of Prof. Sirshendu De at the Indian Institute of Technology—Kharagpur, India. Currently, he is working as an Indo-U.S. postdoctoral fellow, funded by the SERB (DST, Government of India) and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), in the group of Prof. Emmanuel P. Giannelis at Cornell University, United States. His areas of interest lie in the fields of polymers (especially conducting polymers), membranes, fuel cells (including bio/microbial, alcohol, and hydrogen fuel cells), and water purification. He has contributed to 36 experimental and review papers in reputed international platforms, 4 book chapters, and numerous national and international presentations.

Affiliations and Expertise

Indo-U.S.Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

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