Scalability of self-stratifying microbial fuel cell: Towards height miniaturisation

Xavier Alexis Walter, Carlo Santoro, John Greenman, Ioannis A. Ieropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scalability of bioelectrochemical systems is a key parameter for their practical implementation in the real-world. Up until now, only urine-fed self-stratifying microbial fuel cells (SSM-MFCs) have been shown to be scalable in width and length with limited power density losses. For practical reasons, the present work focuses on the scalability of SSM-MFCs in the one dimension that has not yet been investigated, namely height. Three different height conditions were considered (1 cm, 2 cm and 3 cm tall electrodes). The normalised power density of the 2 cm and 3 cm conditions were similar either during the durability test under a hydraulic retention time of ≈39 h (i.e. 15.74 ± 0.99 μ −3 ) and during the polarisation experiments (i.e. 27.79 ± 0.92 μ −3 ). Conversely, the 1 cm condition had lower power densities of 11.23 ± 0.07 μ −3 and 17.73 ± 3.94 μ −3 both during the durability test and the polarisation experiment, respectively. These results confirm that SSM-MFCs can be scaled in all 3 dimensions with minimal power density losses, with a minimum height threshold for the electrode comprised between 1 cm and 2 cm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Power generation
  • Scaling
  • Self-stratification
  • Urine treatment


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