Control of power sourced from a microbial fuel cell reduces its start-up time and increases bioelectrochemical activity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Hitesh Boghani
  • Jung Rae Kim
  • Richard M. Dinsdale
  • Alan J. Guwy
  • Giuliano C. Premier

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Glamorgan
  • Pusan National University


Microbial fuel cell (MFC) performance depends on the selective development of an electrogenic biofilm at an electrode. Controlled biofilm enrichment may reduce start-up time and improve subsequent power performance. The anode potential is known to affect start-up and subsequent performance in electrogenic bio-catalytic consortia. Control strategies varying electrical load through gradient based maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and transient poised anode potential followed by MPPT are compared to static ohmic loading. Three replicate H-type MFCs were used to investigate start-up strategies: (1) application of an MPPT algorithm preceded by poised-potential at the anode (+0.645. V vs Ag/AgCl); (2) MFC connected to MPPT-only; (3) static external load of 1. kΩ and 500. Ω. Active control showed a significant reduction in start-up time from 42 to 22. days, along with 3.5-fold increase in biocatalytic activity after start-up. Such active control may improve applicability by accelerating start-up and enhancing MFC power and bio-catalytic performance.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Bioelectrochemical systems (BES), Microbial fuel cell (MFC), Peak power point tracking, Poised-potential, Start-up control