Farzaneh Rezaei, Tom Richard, and Bruce Logan
Graduate Student, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
The Pennsylvania State University
Electrochemically active microorganisms can produce electricity by oxidizing biodegradable materials in a device called a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC). a variety of biodegradable materials can be used inside MFC as substrates, including soluble sugars, organic acids, and wastewaters. This study investigates electricity production from a cellulosic MFC, using cellulase to accelerate hydrolysis. Added enzymes improved the maximum power generation from the cellulose plus enzymes reactor from 52 ± 2 mW/m2 (cellulose alone) to 99.5 ± 7 mW/m2. Adding enzyme improved coulombic efficiency, COD removal, and cellulose degradation by 132%, 115%, and 85% as compared to the reactor fed with cellulose alone.