Regan, John M.; Yan, Hengjing(Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, Springer Nature, 2014-01-22)[Book Chapter]
Bioelectrochemical systems involve the use of exoelectrogenic (i.e., anode-reducing) microbes to produce current in conjunction with the oxidation of reduced compounds. This current can be used directly for power in a microbial fuel cell, but there are alternate uses of this current. One such alternative is the production of hydrogen in a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC), which accomplishes cathodic proton reduction with a slight applied potential by exploiting the low redox potential produced by exoelectrogens at the anode. As an indirect approach to biohydrogen production, these systems are not subject to the hydrogen yield constraints of fermentative processes and have been proven to work with virtually any biodegradable organic substrate. With continued advancements in reactor design to reduce the system internal resistance, increase the specific surface area for anode biofilm development, and decrease the material costs, MECs may emerge as a viable alternative technology for biohydrogen production. Moreover, these systems can also incorporate other value-added functionalities for applications in waste treatment, desalination, and bioremediation.
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