Special Issue "Microbial Electrochemical Systems"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Eileen Yu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
Interests: bioelectrochemical systems; resource recovery; environmental engineering; electrochemical engineering and materials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jean-Marie Fontmorin
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
Interests: bioelectrochemical systems; environmental engineering; electrochemical materials
Dr. Xu Wang
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, China
Interests: fuel cells; membrane materials; environmental electrochemical engineering
Dr. Annemiek Ter Heijne
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Sub-Department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Interests: environmental engineering; environmental technology; sustainable energy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over a century ago in 1911, UK scientist M.C. Potter first discovered the concept of electricity production from bacteria decomposing organic compounds by generating electricity using E. coli [1]. After a century, due to increased economic growth and development, there are gaps between energy and resource demands and the availability of fossil fuels and nature resources. Innovative technologies are urgently needed to increase sustainability with renewable energies, waste, and resource recovery. The development of microbial-electrochemical systems (MES) represents a new approach for harvesting electricity from waste and biomass [2], has attracted numerous interests resulted in large quantity of research projects and publications in the area in the past decade.

MES mainly include microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) both using electrogenic microorganisms on the anode. Microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology combines the developments in the biotechnology and fuel cell technology. The major difference between MFC and other types of fuel cells is the catalysts used. Instead of expensive noble metal or other chemical catalysts, microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, are used. Microbial electrochemical system (MES) combining waste treatment and extracting energy and recovering resources from waste is a promising technology for sustainable chemical and fuel production, and will have positive impact on the environment and society.

As a multidisciplinary research area, research on MES involves a wide range of topics across different disciplines including and not limited to microbiology, electrochemistry, materials and process integration. Due to the limitation on energy production from MFCs, the focus of the research in MES area has a shift to applying the technology to various applications, such as metal recovery, hydrogen production and microbial electrochemical synthesis of organic compounds from CO2, as well as using MFC technology for monitoring organic and pollutant concentrations.

With this Special Issue, we hope to showcase the latest development in the MES areas, and also provide the insight on the development trend and perspectives for this research area.

Dr. Eileen Yu
Dr. Annemiek ter Heijne
Dr. Xu Wang
Dr. Jean-Marie Fontmorin
Guest Editor

[1] Potter, M. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of A Biological Character (1905–1934); Royal Society: London, UK, 1911; Volume 84, pp. 260–276.
[2] Logan, B.E.; Murano, C.; Scott,K.; Gray, N.D.; Head, I.M.. Electricity generation from cysteine in a microbial fuel cell. Water Res. 2005, 39, 942–952.

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • microbial electrochemical systems

  • electrogenic microorganism

  • biofilms

  • advance materials

  • electron transfer mechanisms

  • scale up/down

  • BOD biosensor

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Wastewater Treatment Performance and Power Generation in Microbial Fuel Cells by Enhancing Hydrolysis and Acidogenesis, and by Reducing Internal Losses
Energies 2018, 11(9), 2309; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11092309 - 02 Sep 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2504
In this study, biodegradation performance and power generation in MFCs were improved. Domestic wastewater was biodegraded in a dual-chamber MFC system equipped with a DupontTM Nafion® 117 proton exchange membrane, graphite electrodes (8.0 cm × 2.5 cm × 0.2 cm) in both [...] Read more.
In this study, biodegradation performance and power generation in MFCs were improved. Domestic wastewater was biodegraded in a dual-chamber MFC system equipped with a DupontTM Nafion® 117 proton exchange membrane, graphite electrodes (8.0 cm × 2.5 cm × 0.2 cm) in both chambers and an external electric circuit with a 100 Ω resistor. Experiments were conducted using an anaerobic inoculum that was prepared onsite by acclimating mixed liquor from municipal wastewater. Aqueous hydrochloric acid (0.1 M HCl, pH 1.82) was used as the electrolyte in the cathode chamber. Free-oxygen conditions were promoted in both chambers by means of a vacuum (77.3 kPa). Low pH (< 5) and mixing conditions were maintained in the anode chamber and all the tests were carried out at 25 ± 1 °C. These conditions enhanced the hydrolysis and acidogenesis, inhibited the methanogenesis and reduced the internal losses. All of them together contributed to improve the treatment performance and power generation of the MFCs. Results of batch tests show COD reductions of up to 95%, voltages peaks of 0.954 V, maximum power densities on the order of 2.1 W·m−2 and 36.9 W·m3, and energy generation peaks of 99.4 J·mg−1 COD removed. These values are greater than those reported in the MFCs’ literature for municipal wastewater (26 mW·m−2–146 mW·m−2), industrial wastewater (419 mW·m−2) and culture medium solutions (1.17 W·m−2), and similar to those of glucose (3.6 W·m−2). Thus, these results can contribute to further enhancing the energy generated in MFCs and moving forward to make the MFCs more ready for practical applications of bioenergy production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Electrochemical Systems)
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