Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Mathematical model for microbial fuel cells with anodic biofilms and anaerobic digestion

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Cristian Picioreanu, Krishna Katuri, Professor Ian Head, Emeritus Professor Keith Scott


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


This study describes the integration of IWA'S anaerobic digestion model (ADM1) within a computational model of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Several populations of methanogenic and electroactive microorganisms coexist suspended in the anolyte and in the biofilm attached to the anode. A number of biological, chemical and electrochemical reactions occur in the bulk liquid, in the biofilm and at the electrode surface, involving glucose, organic acids, H2 and redox mediators. Model output includes the evolution in time of important measurable MFC parameters (current production, consumption of substrates, suspended and attached biomass growth). Two-and three-dimensional model simulations reveal the importance of current and biomass heterogeneous distribution over the planar anode surface. Voltage- and power-current characteristics can be calculated at different moments in time to evaluate the limiting regime in which the MFC operates. Finally, model simulations are compared with experimental results showing that, in a batch MFC, smaller electrical resistance of the circuit leads to selection of electroactive bacteria. Higher coulombic yields are so obtained because electrons from substrate are transferred to anode rather than following the methanogenesis pathway. In addition to higher currents, faster COD consumption rates are so achieved. The potential of this general modelling framework is in the understanding and design of more complex cases of wastewater-fed microbial fuel cells. © IWA Publishing 2008.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Picioreanu C, Katuri KP, Head IM, Van Loosdrecht MCM, Scott K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water Science and Technology

Year: 2008

Volume: 57

Issue: 7

Pages: 965-971

ISSN (print): 0273-1223

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: IWA Publishing


DOI: 10.2166/wst.2008.095


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric