Energy harvesting influences electrochemical performance of microbial fuel cells

Fernanda Leite Lobo, Xin Wang, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) can be effective power sources for remote sensing, wastewater treatment and environmental remediation, but their performance needs significant improvement. This study systematically analyzes how active harvesting using electrical circuits increased MFC system outputs as compared to passive resistors not only in the traditional maximal power point (MPP) but also in other desired operating points such as the maximum current point (MCP) and the maximum voltage point (MVP). Results show that active harvesting in MPP increased power output by 81–375% and active harvesting in MCP increased Coulombic efficiency by 207–805% compared with resisters operated at the same points. The cyclic voltammograms revealed redox potential shifts and supported the performance data. The findings demonstrate that active harvesting is a very effective approach to improve MFC performance across different operating points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-364
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Energy harvesting
  • Maximum current point
  • Maximum power point
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Wastewater


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