Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology | VOL. 107

Efficient H2 production in a ZnFe2O4/g-C3N4 photo-cathode single-chamber microbial electrolysis cell

Publication Date Nov 21, 2022


Photo-assisted single-chamber microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) incorporating semiconductor cathodes are attractively promising for exclusive hydrogen without CH4 and CO2. However, the unsustainable, high cost, and unstable metal catalysts on the cathodes along with the intricacies behind the interplay of circuital current, light illumination, and bacterial communities on both electrodes are poorly understood. Herein, photo-assisted single-chamber MECs incorporating ZnFe2O4/g-C3N4 cathodes are demonstrated to achieve efficient production of exclusive hydrogen (0.11 ± 0.01 m3/m2/day; 1.70 ± 0.04 m3/m3/day) with a solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 4.08 ± 0.17% and an energy efficiency relative to electrical input of 233 ± 5%. The ZnFe2O4/g-C3N4 structured cathodes exhibited appreciable higher photocurrents than the controls (g-C3N4: 4.3-fold; ZnFe2O4: 3.3-fold), and negligible leaking of Fe and Zn after the 4th-cycle operation. Circuital current and light illumination were proven to varying degree shape both electrodes for building up functional bacterial communities with metabolic regulation at the prolonged operation of 12 batch cycles. Energy metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism along with membrane transport, signal transduction, and cell motility based on PICRUSt functional prediction further confirmed the photo-assisted single-chamber MECs for efficient hydrogen production. This study provided a sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient approach for achieving high rates of exclusive hydrogen production and o...


Single-chamber Microbial Electrolysis Cells Light Illumination Bacterial Communities Efficient Production Microbial Electrolysis Cells Functional Bacterial Communities Efficient Hydrogen Production Membrane Transport Rates Of Hydrogen Production Carbohydrate Metabolism

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