Is resistance futile? Changing external resistance does not improve microbial fuel cell performance

  • Lyon D
  • Buret F
  • Vogel T
 et al. 
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Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) show promise as an alternative to conventional batteries for point source electricity generation. A better understanding of the relationship between the microbiological and electrical aspects of fuels cells is needed prior to successful MFC application. Here, we observed the effects of external resistance on power production and the anodic biofilm community structure. Large differences in the external resistance affected both power production and microbial community structure. After the establishment of the anodic microbial community, change in external resistance (from low to high and vice versa) changed the anodic microbial community structure, but the resulting community did not resemble the communities established at that same external resistance. Different microbial community structures, established under different external resistances, resulted in similar power production, demonstrating the flexibility of the MFC system. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biofilm community structure
  • Microbial fuel cells
  • Single-chamber
  • Wastewater

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