Modelling - Overview


In a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) the chemical energy is transformed into the electrical energy via a cascade of electrochemical reactions. Electrons are produced in the metabolic pathways and can be extracted from the cell and concentrated at the electrode by the electric potential differences. Alternatively the electrons can be transferred to the oxidized mediator molecules that transfer them further to the electrode. There is a variety of parameters and interactions that influence electricity generation. Therefore, there is the need to identify the bottleneck reactions and limiting factors. This approach reduces the complexity of the analysis and can give a deeper insight on the most important processes involved in the electricity generation.

In our theoretical analysis the focus was set to three bottleneck reactions involved in the electron flow from the metabolism of the bacterial cells to the cathode:

  • Generation of intermediates NADH+H+ in the metabolic pathway of E.coli
  • Reduction of oxidized mediators via the intermediate NADH
  • Transfer of the electrons from reduced mediator to the electrode