Techno-productive potential of photosynthetic microbial fuel cells through different configurations

Ahmed Elmekawy, Hanaa M. Hegab, Karolien Vanbroekhoven, Deepak Pant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


The shortage of sustainable energy and the extensive environmental pollution along with the global warming effect caused by CO2 emissions are major problems facing the world today. The use of microalgae to overcome these problems has gained enormous research interests in recent years, primarily due to their ability to convert CO2 by photosynthesis into potential biomass. The merging of such phototrophic organisms into microbial fuel cells (MFCs) is an interesting option since they can act as efficient in situ oxygenators, thus facilitating the cathodic reaction of photosynthetic microbial fuel cells (PMFCs). Also, microalgae can support the efficient removal of phosphorus and nitrogen, as the MFC technology cannot stand-up alone in this field. But such PMFC configurations does possess several challenges, among which PMFC design, output current and sustainability are the major bottlenecks encountering large scale implementation for electricity generation in a cost-effective way. This review goes beyond previous research work by providing not only a detailed update on the current PMFC configurations, but also the critical operational parameters of PMFC, with a scope that extends to cover all types of direct or indirect integration of phototrophic microbes within MFC technology.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)617-627
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Bioelectricity
  • Microalgae
  • Microbial solar cell
  • Photosynthetic microbial fuel cell


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