Mixed Culture Biocathodes for Production of Hydrogen, Methane, and Carboxylates

Annemiek Ter Heijne, Florian Geppert, Tom H.J.A. Sleutels, Pau Batlle-Vilanova, Dandan Liu, Sebastià Puig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Formation of hydrogen, methane, and organics at biocathodes is an attractive new application of bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). Using mixed cultures, these products can be formed at certain cathode potentials using specific operating conditions, of which pH is important. Thermodynamically, the reduction of CO2 to methane is the most favorable reaction, followed by reduction of CO2 to acetate and ethanol, and hydrogen. In practice, however, the cathode potential at which these reactions occur is more negative, meaning that more energy is required to drive the reaction. Therefore, hydrogen is often found as a second product or intermediate in the conversion of CO2 to both methane and carboxylates. In this chapter we summarize the inocula used for biocathode processes and discuss the achieved conversion rates and cathode potentials for formation of hydrogen, methane, and carboxylates. Although this overview reveals that BESs offer new opportunities for the bioproduction of different compounds, there are still challenges that need to be overcome before these systems can be applied on a larger scale. Graphical Abstract.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioelectrosynthesis
EditorsT. Scheper
ISBN (Electronic)9783030032999
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
ISSN (Print)0724-6145


  • Biocathode
  • Bioelectrochemical systems
  • Carboxylate
  • Hydrogen
  • Methane


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