Renewable sustainable biocatalyzed electricity production in a photosynthetic algal microbial fuel cell (PAMFC)

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Abstract

Electricity production via solar energy capturing by living higher plants and microalgae in combination with microbial fuel cells are attractive because these systems promise to generate useful energy in a renewable, sustainable, and efficient manner. This study describes the proof of principle of a photosynthetic algal microbial fuel cell (PAMFC) based on naturally selected algae and electrochemically active microorganisms in an open system and without addition of instable or toxic mediators. The developed solarpowered PAMFC produced continuously over 100 days renewable biocatalyzed electricity. The sustainable performance of the PAMFC resulted in a maximum current density of 539 mA/m2 projected anode surface area and a maximum power production of 110 mW/m2 surface area photobioreactor. The energy recovery of the PAMFC can be increased by optimization of the photobioreactor, by reducing the competition from non-electrochemically active microorganisms, by increasing the electrode surface and establishment of a further-enriched biofilm. Since the objective is to produce net renewable energy with algae, future research should also focus on the development of low energy input PAMFCs. This is because current algae production systems have energy inputs similar to the energy present in the outcoming valuable products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-668
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume81
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • cyanobacterium
  • generation
  • bacterium
  • plants
  • light

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