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Upflow Microbial Fuel Cell


Development of the UMFC: simultaneous electricity generation and wastewater treatment (completed)

PI: Lars Angenent

Bear Cub
Washington University in St. Louis


Bioelectricity production from wastewater. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) produce bioelectricity from organic material in waste streams by isolating half reactions in two different electrode chambers separated by a proton-permeable membrane and connecting electrodes in these chambers with a conductive wire. In the anode chamber an anaerobic microbial community (i.e., biocatalysts) oxidizes organic compounds and transfers electrons directly to an electrode rather than to an electron acceptor molecule. A mixed community in the anode chamber has produced considerably more power density (in mW/m2 of electrode area) than a pure culture. In the abiotic cathode chamber an aerobic environment must be maintained to convert oxygen, electrons, and protons into water.

Development of the upflow microbial fuel cell. Besides the need to increase power, there is also a need to make MFCs more practical and economical for large-scale wastewater processing. We have, therefore, developed the upflow microbial fuel cell (UMFC) and a provisional patent application was filed.



Jason He