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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2020.484
Microbial electrolysis cells for electromethanogenesis: materials, configurations and operations
Aditya Amrut Pawar1,5, Anandakrishnan Karthic1, Sangmin Lee2, Soumya Pandit3, and Sokhee P. Jung4
1Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Mumbai, Maharashtra 410206, India
2Department of Environmental Engineering, Kongju National University, Cheonan 31080, Korea
3Department of Life Sciences, School of Basic Sciences and Research, Sharda University, Greater Noida 201306, India
4Department of Environment and Energy Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
5Department of Biological Sciences and Engineering, Netaji Subhas University of Technology, New Delhi, 110078, India
Corresponding Author: Soumya Pandit ,Tel: +82-62-530-1857 , Fax: +82-62-530-1859, Email: sokheejung@jnu.ac.kr; sokheejung@gmail.com; sounip@gmail.com
Sokhee P. Jung ,Tel: +82-62-530-1857 , Fax: +82-62-530-1859, Email: sokheejung@jnu.ac.kr; sokheejung@gmail.com; sounip@gmail.com
Received: August 25, 2020;  Accepted: December 17, 2020.
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Anaerobic digestion is a traditional method of producing methane-containing biogas by utilizing the methanogenic conversion of organic matter like agricultural waste and animal excreta. Recently, the application of microbial electrolysis cell (MECs) technology to a traditional anaerobic digestion system has been extensively studied to find new opportunities in increasing wastewater treatability and methane yield and producing valuable chemicals. The finding that both anodic and cathodic bacteria can synthesize methane has led to the efforts of optimizing multiple aspects like microbial species, formation of biofilms, substrate sources and electrode surface for higher production of the combustible compound. MECs are very fascinating because of its ability to uptake a wide variety of raw materials including untreated wastewater (and its microbial content as biocatalysts). Extensive work in this field has established different systems of MECs for hydrogen production and biodegradation of organic compounds. This review is dedicated to explaining the operating principles and mechanism of the MECs for electromethanogenesis using different biochemical pathways. Emphasis on single- and double-chambered MECs along with reactor components is provided for a comprehensive description of the technology.Methane production using hydrogen evolution reaction and nanocatalysts has also been discussed.
Keywords: Electromethanogenesis | Hydrogen evolution reaction | Microbial electrolysis cells | Process improvement | Renewable energy production | Nanocatalysts
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