Powering microbial electrolysis cells by capacitor circuits charged using microbial fuel cell

Marta C. Hatzell, Younggy Kim, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

A microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) was powered by a capacitor based energy storage circuit using energy from a microbial fuel cell (MFC) to increase MEC hydrogen production rates compared to that possible by the MFC alone. To prevent voltage reversal, MFCs charged the capacitors in a parallel configuration, and then the capacitors were discharged in series to boost the voltage that was used to power the MECs. The optimal capacitance for charging was found to be ∼0.01 F for each MFC. The use of the capacitor charging system increased energy recoveries from 9 to 13%, and hydrogen production rates increased from 0.31 to 0.72 m3 m-3-day-1, compared to coupled systems without capacitors. The circuit efficiency (the ratio of the energy that was discharged to the MEC to the energy provided to the capacitor from the MFCs) was ∼90%. These results provide an improved method for linking MFCs to MECs for renewable hydrogen gas production. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-202
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume229
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

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