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Effect of fermentation on the acetate-dominated rumen microbial fuel cells

Author(s):Chin Tsan Wanga, Yao Cheng Leeb, Che Ming Yangc, Zih Sheng Chena, Yung Chin Yangb
a Department of Mechanical and Electro-Mechanical Engineering, National I-Lan University, I-Lan. Taiwan.

b Institute of Materials Science and Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei. Taiwan
c Department of Biotechnology and Animal Science, National I-Lan University, I-Lan. Taiwan.
International Journal of Smart Grid and Clean Energy, vol. 5, no. 2, April 2016: pp. 100-105
ISSN: 2315-4462 (Print)
ISSN: 2373-3594 (Online)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.12720/sgce.5.2.100-105

Abstract:Converting renewable biomass into electricity by using Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) can produce clean and transportable energy. Ruminal microorganisms are capable of degrading plant fiber with the production of Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) and reducing equivalents which could then be transformed into electricity. In this study fermentation characteristics and electrical properties in microbial fuel cells with rumen microorganisms, using plant fiber as substrate, are investigated. Results show that an acetate-type of fermentation favors the yield of reducing equivalents. When bermudagrass straw and rumen microorganisms were added to the anode chamber of microbial fuel cells, the total VFA concentration increased with time. It seems that the accumulation of VFA interfered with the generation of electricity. These results imply that an acetate-dominated type of ruminal fermentation could lead to the release of electrons. This could be conducive to electrical output by Rumen Microbial Fuel Cells (RMFCs). These findings would be useful to improve the power generation of RMFCs.

Keywords:Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA), fermentation characteristics, rumen microorganisms, plant fiber, power performance, Rumen Microbial Fuel Cells (RMFCs)

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