Impact of cathodic electron acceptor on microbial fuel cell internal resistance

Kathryn Lawson, Ruggero Rossi, John M. Regan, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Ferricyanide is often used in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) to avoid oxygen intrusion that occurs with air cathodes. However, MFC internal resistances using ferricyanide can be larger than those with air cathodes even though ferricyanide results in higher power densities. Using a graphite fiber brush cathode and a ferricyanide catholyte (FC-B) the internal resistance was 62 ± 4 mΩ m2, with 84 ± 8 mΩ m2 obtained using ferricyanide and a flat carbon paper cathode (FC-F) and only 51 ± 1 mΩ m2 using a 70% porosity air cathode (A-70). The FC-B MFCs produced the highest maximum power density of all configurations examined: 2.46 ± 0.26 W/m2, compared to 1.33 ± 0.14 W/m2 for the A-70 MFCs. The electrode potential slope (EPS) analysis method showed that electrode resistances were similar for ferricyanide and air–cathode MFCs, and that higher power was due to the larger experimental working potential (500 ± 12 mV) of ferricyanide compared to the air cathode (233 ± 5 mV).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123919
JournalBioresource technology
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of cathodic electron acceptor on microbial fuel cell internal resistance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this