Ceramic Microbial Fuel Cells Stack: power generation in standard and supercapacitive mode

Carlo Santoro, Cristina Flores-Cadengo, Francesca Soavi, Mounika Kodali, Irene Merino-Jimenez, Iwona Gajda, John Greenman, Ioannis Ieropoulos, Plamen Atanassov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work, a microbial fuel cell (MFC) stack containing 28 ceramic MFCs was tested in both standard
and supercapacitive modes. The MFCs consisted of carbon veil anodes wrapped around the ceramic separator and air-breathing cathodes based on activated carbon catalyst pressed on a stainless steel mesh. The anodes and cathodes were connected in parallel. The electrolytes utilized had different solution conductivities ranging from 2.0 mScm−1 to 40.1 mScm−1, simulating diverse wastewaters. Polarization curves of MFCs showed a general enhancement in performance with the increase of the electrolyte solution conductivity. The maximum stationary power density was 3.2 mW (3.2 Wm−3) at 2.0 mScm−1 that increased to 10.6 mW (10.6 Wm−3) at the highest solution conductivity (40.1 mScm−1). For the first time, MFCs stack with 1 L operating volume was also tested in supercapacitive mode, where full galvanostatic discharges are presented. Also in the latter case, performance once again improved with the increase in solution conductivity. Particularly, the increase in solution conductivity decreased dramatically the ohmic resistance and therefore the time for complete discharge was elongated, with a resultant increase in power. Maximum power achieved varied between 7.6 mW (7.6 Wm−3) at 2.0 mScm−1 and 27.4 mW (27.4 Wm−3) at 40.1 mScm−1.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3281
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date19 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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