Anode amendment with kaolin and activated carbon increases electricity generation in a microbial fuel cell

Lea Ouaknin Hirsch, Irina Amar Dubrovin, Bharath Gandu, Efrat Emanuel, Birthe Veno Kjellerup, Gizem Elif Ugur, Alex Schechter, Rivka Cahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bacterial anode is a key factor for microbial fuel cell (MFC) performance. This study examined the potential of kaolin (fine clay) to enhance bacteria and conductive particle attachment to the anode. The bio-electroactivity of MFCs based on a carbon-cloth anode modified by immobilization with kaolin, activated carbon, and Geobacter sulfurreducens (kaolin-AC), with only kaolin (kaolin), and a bare carbon-cloth (control) anodes were examined. When the MFCs were fed with wastewater, the MFCs based on the kaolin-AC, kaolin, and bare anodes produced a maximum voltage of 0.6 V, 0.4 V, and 0.25 V, respectively. The maximum power density obtained by the MFC based on the kaolin-AC anode was 1112 mW‧m−2 at a current density of 3.33 A‧m−2, 12% and 56% higher than the kaolin and the bare anodes, respectively. The highest Coulombic efficiency was obtained by the kaolin-AC anode (16%). The relative microbial diversity showed that Geobacter displayed the highest relative distribution of 64% in the biofilm of the kaolin-AC anode. This result proved the advantage of preserving the bacterial anode exoelectrogens using kaolin. To our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating kaolin as a natural adhesive for immobilizing exoelectrogenic bacteria to anode material in MFCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108486
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Activated carbon
  • Coulombic efficiency
  • Kaolin
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Modified anode

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrochemistry


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