HNEI researchers investigated the efficacy of microbial fuels cells for a variety of applications. To treat wastewater, a flow through microbial fuel cell was linked downstream from an anaerobic digester. Results showed the development of functionalized biofilms were possible under non-sterile environments and digestion rates that suggested microbial fuels to perform well as a polishing unit supporting anaerobic digestion. HNEI researchers also investigated enzymatic biocatalysts to convert chemical energy directly into electricity as a power source. Key technical thrusts pursued included development of macro-porous electrodes, standardized platforms for electrochemical characterization, and in-situ techniques to probe the chemical microenvironments of immobilized enzymes.
Point Person: Michael Cooney 
- Biofuel Cell Excerpt from Final Technical Report , submitted to ONR, December 2011
Papers & Proceedings
- 2013, S.R. Higgins, R.J. Lopez, E. Pagaling, T. Yan, M.J. Cooney, Towards a hybrid anaerobic digester-microbial fuel cell integrated energy recovery system: An overview of the development of an electrogenic biofilm , Enzyme and Microbial Technology, Volume 52, Issues 6–7, pp. 344-–351
- 2011, S.R. Higgins, C. Lau, P. Atanassov, S.D. Minteer, M.J. Cooney, Hybrid Biofuel Cell: Microbial Fuel Cell with an Enzymatic Air-Breathing Cathode , ACS Catalysis, Vol. 1, Issue 9, pp. 994–997
- 2011, S.R. Higgins, D. Foerster, A. Cheung, C. Lau, O. Bretschger, S.D. Minteer, K. Nealson, P. Atanassov, M.J. Cooney, Fabrication of macroporous chitosan scaffolds doped with carbon nanotubes and their characterization in microbial fuel cell operation , Enzyme and Microbial Technology, Volume 48, Issues 6–7, pp. 458–465