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Bioelectrochemistry. 2008 Apr;72(2):149-54. doi: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2008.01.004. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

The use of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in the evaluation of the electrochemical properties of a microbial fuel cell.

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  • 1Corrosion and Environmental Effects Laboratory, The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0241, USA.


Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) has been used to determine several electrochemical properties of the anode and cathode of a mediator-less microbial fuel cell (MFC) under different operational conditions. These operational conditions included a system with and without the bacterial catalyst and EIS measurements at the open-circuit potential of the anode and the cathode or at an applied cell voltage. In all cases the impedance spectra followed a simple one-time-constant model (OTCM) in which the solution resistance is in series with a parallel combination of the polarization resistance and the electrode capacitance. Analysis of the impedance spectra showed that addition of Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 to a solution of buffer and lactate greatly increased the rate of the lactate oxidation at the anode under open-circuit conditions. The large decrease of open-circuit potential of the anode increased the cell voltage of the MFC and its power output. Measurements of impedance spectra for the MFC at different cell voltages resulted in determining the internal resistance (R(int)) of the MFC and it was found that R(int) is a function of cell voltage. Additionally, R(int) was equal to R(ext) at the cell voltage corresponding to maximum power, where R(ext) is the external resistance that must be applied across the circuit to obtain the maximum power output.

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