New study investigates innovative Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) cell configurations

Our project partner and colleague Deepak Pant, Senior Scientist at VITO, collaborated in the research effort behind the recent publication of the scientific paper “Microbial electrosynthesis of acetate from CO2 in three-chamber cells with gas diffusion biocathode under moderate saline conditions”.

The study, led by Paolo Dessì and Pau Farràs (from University of Galway, Ireland), investigates approaches to increase the production rate of innovative Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) cell configurations. MES is an emerging electrochemical process that exploits microbial metabolism to reduce CO2 to green chemicals. While this technology represents many advantages (microorganisms act as cheap, resilient, and self-regenerating catalysts that can be adapted to treat industrial flue gases with impurities), research and development efforts are needed to overcome existing challenges (e.g. density hindering MES and the high cell voltages).

In the investigated approach, a three-chamber cells equipped with VITO’s Gas Diffusion Electrodes evolved an efficient cathodic community dominated by Acetobacterium that achieved CO2 conversion to acetate with the highest production rate of 55.4 g /m²/ d, exceeding 80% Coulombic efficiency at 1 mA/cm² applied current.

The paper, available as open access, can be found here.

The work has been supported by the Horizon2020 project VIVALDI.