Microbial fuel cell (MFC)


  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati have developed a microbial fuel cell (MFC), a bio-electrochemical device that can generate “green energy” by treating wastewater.

Key Findings

  • The researchers said the device offered a dual benefit generation of bioelectricity and waste management by converting chemical energy contained in organic substrates into electrical energy through microbes.

    Microbial Fuel Cells
    Photo Source: Microbiology Notes
  • The IIT Guwahati claimed the device could be used for obtaining clean energy from municipal wastewater economically.
  • The active biocatalyst in the anodic chamber anaerobically oxidises organic matter present in wastewater to produce electrons and protons.
  • Protons are transported to the cathodic chamber through the PEM.
  • The external circuit conducts the electrons to the cathode, completing the electrical circuit.
  • At the cathode, electrons and protons reacted in the presence of oxygen (or another electron acceptor), which got reduced to water.

About microbial fuel cell (MFC)

  • MFC is a bio-electrochemical reactor system that utilises electrons liberated in the biochemical oxidation of organic substrates catalysed by anaerobic microbes.
  • A conventional MFC reactor comprises an anaerobic biotic anode chamber, an aerobic biotic or abiotic cathode chamber, and a separator such as a proton exchange membrane (PEM).



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