High performance spiral wound microbial fuel cell with hydraulic characterization

Alexander Haeger, Casey Forrestal, Pei Xu, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The understanding and development of functioning systems are crucial steps for microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology advancement. In this study, a compact spiral wound MFC (swMFC) was developed and hydraulic residence time distribution (RTD) tests were conducted to investigate the flow characteristics in the systems. Results show that two-chamber swMFCs have high surface area to volume ratios of 350-700m2/m3, and by using oxygen cathode without metal-catalysts, the maximum power densities were 42W/m3 based on total volume and 170W/m3 based on effective volume. The hydraulic step-input tracer study identified 20-67% of anodic flow dead space, which presents new opportunities for system improvement. Electrochemical tools revealed very low ohmic resistance but high charge transfer and diffusion resistance due to catalyst-free oxygen reduction. The spiral wound configuration combined with RTD tool offers a holistic approach for MFC development and optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Dead space
  • Hydraulic residence time distribution
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Spiral wound


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