Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Increase of power output by change of ion transport direction in a plant microbial fuel cell
Timmers, R.A. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2013
International Journal of Energy Research 37 (2013)9. - ISSN 0363-907X - p. 1103 - 1111.
long-term performance - bioelectrochemical systems - exchange membranes - electrolysis cells - iron reduction - rice plants - electricity - cathode - rhizodeposits - generation
The plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a technology for the production of renewable and clean bioenergy based on photosynthesis. To increase the power output of the PMFC, the internal resistance (IR) must be reduced. The objective of the present study was to reduce the membrane resistance by changing the transport direction of cations in the direction of the established concentration gradient. Two setups, a MFC and PMFC, were designed with one anode and two cathode compartments to demonstrate the effect of changing the transport direction. This design allowed changing the direction of transport of cations by switching the cathode compartment that functions as cathode. The change between cathode 1 and cathode 2 enhanced the power output of the PMFC by 398%. More specifically, after changing transport direction, the increase in power output was due to the reduction of IR (normalized to membrane area) from 4.3 O m2mem to 1.2 O m2mem in the PMFC. Consecutive changes of cathodes resulted in an increase of generated power with cathode 1 while this power decreased for cathode 2. During the consecutive changes, the average power output remained constant 0.0362¿±¿0.0005 W m-2mem; this was 246% higher than the initial power output with cathode 1
Resilience of roof-top Plant-Microbial Fuel Cells during Dutch winter
Helder, M. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Reas, S.M.T. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2013
Biomass and Bioenergy 51 (2013). - ISSN 0961-9534 - p. 1 - 7.
time-domain reflectometry - electricity production - temperature - performance - biofilm
The Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell (P-MFC) is in theory a technology that could produce sustainable electricity continuously. We operated two designs of the P-MFC under natural roof-top conditions in the Netherlands for 221 days, including winter, to test its resilience. Current and power densities are not stable under outdoor conditions. Highest obtained power density was 88 mW m-2, which is lower than was achieved under lab-conditions (440 mW m-2). Cathode potential was in our case dependent on solar radiation, due to algae growth, making the power output dependent on a diurnal cycle. The anode potential of the P-MFC is influenced by temperature, leading to a decrease in electricity production during low temperature periods and no electricity production during frost periods. Due to freezing of the roots, plants did not survive winter and therefore did not regrow in spring. In order to make a sustainable, stable and weather independent electricity production system of the P-MFC attention should be paid to improving cathode stability and cold insulation of anode and cathode. Only when power output of the Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell can be increased under outdoor conditions and plant-vitality can be sustained over winter, it can be a promising sustainable electricity technology for the future
Electricity generation by a novel design tubular plant microbial fuel cell
Timmers, R.A. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2013
Biomass and Bioenergy 51 (2013). - ISSN 0961-9534 - p. 60 - 67.
exchange membranes - iron reduction - rice plants - rhizodeposits - performance - resistance - transport - bacteria
The tubular plant microbial fuel cell was designed to increase the feasibility of this technology. To test the new setup two anode materials were investigated, namely a graphite felt and graphite granules. The average power output based on membrane area was 10 mW m-2 for felt, and 12 mW m-2 for graphite granules. The corresponding mass and volume power densities for the felt were 15 and 69 times greater than for the granules. This showed that a decrease in the use of anode electrode material is possible while achieving comparable power outputs per square meter of membrane. These findings make future applications of the plant microbial fuel cell technology more feasible due to costs reduction per kWh. Furthermore, this PMFC design could be likely applied into soils without the need to excavate the topsoil.2
Electricity generation by living plants in a plant microbial fuel cell
Timmers, R.A. - \ 2012
Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Cees Buisman, co-promotor(en): Bert Hamelers; David Strik. - S.l. : s.n. - ISBN 9789461912824 - 196
opwekking van elektriciteit - microbiële brandstofcellen - electricity generation - microbial fuel cells

Society is facing local and global challenges to secure needs of people. One of those needs is the increasing demand of energy. Currently most energy is generated by conversion of fossil fuels. The major drawback of using fossil fuels is pollution of the environment by emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and fine particles. Furthermore fossil fuels are not renewable in a time scale in the order of decades. The microbial solar cell (MSC) is a new collective name of biotechnological systems that integrate photosynthetic and electrochemically active organisms to generate electricity in a clean and renewable manner. Among the MSCs, the plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) that employs higher plants, is the most promising MSCs. In PMFCs, plant roots provide substrate for electrochemically active bacteria in the anode by the loss of organic compounds. In natural environments plant roots loose organic compound by diffusion through the cell membrane, or release organic compounds in order to acquire necessary nutrient. In both cases these organic compounds are an energy source for micro-organisms. In the PMFC these lost or released organic compounds are partly utilized by electrochemically active bacteria. During the oxidation of these organic compounds s electrochemically active bacteria transfer electrons to the anode electrode and produce protons and carbon dioxide. The electrons flow via a power harvester to the cathode compartment where the electrons are consumed by typically oxygen reduction. The aim of this thesis was to characterize the PMFC biologically and electrochemically and to improve the design towards higher applicable power outputs. The approach of this thesis was to understand processes in the PMFC which limit electrical power generation and use these findings to improve electrical power generation and the applicability of the PMFC design.

Characterization of the internal resistance of a plant microbial fuel cell
Timmers, R.A. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2012
Electrochimica Acta 72 (2012). - ISSN 0013-4686 - p. 165 - 171.
exchange membranes - rice plants - electricity - rhizodeposits - generation - transport - bacteria
The objective of this research was to clarify the internal resistance of the PMFC. To characterize internal resistances of the PMFC current interrupt and polarization were used, and partial resistances were calculated. The internal resistance consisted mainly of anode resistance and membrane resistance which both decreased during current interrupt. The anode resistance was the result of mass transfer resistance in the electrochemically active biofilm. The membrane resistance was the result of accumulation of cations in the cathode. The polarization showed a distinct hysteresis which was explained by the increase of the internal resistance during polarization. The increase of this resistance makes it difficult to interpret the maximum power output of the PMFC.
Microbial community structure elucidates performance of Glyceria maxima plant microbial fuel cell
Timmers, R.A. ; Rothballer, M. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Engel, M. ; Schulz, M. ; Hartmann, A. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2012
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 94 (2012)2. - ISSN 0175-7598 - p. 537 - 548.
targeted oligonucleotide probes - iron-reducing bacteria - in-situ hybridization - electricity-generation - fe(iii)-reducing bacterium - shewanella-putrefaciens - activated-sludge - soil bacteria - rice plants - human feces
The plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a technology in which living plant roots provide electron donor, via rhizodeposition, to a mixed microbial community to generate electricity in a microbial fuel cell. Analysis and localisation of the microbial community is necessary for gaining insight into the competition for electron donor in a PMFC. This paper characterises the anode-rhizosphere bacterial community of a Glyceria maxima (reed mannagrass) PMFC. Electrochemically active bacteria (EAB) were located on the root surfaces, but they were more abundant colonising the graphite granular electrode. Anaerobic cellulolytic bacteria dominated the area where most of the EAB were found, indicating that the current was probably generated via the hydrolysis of cellulose. Due to the presence of oxygen and nitrate, short-chain fatty acid-utilising denitrifiers were the major competitors for the electron donor. Acetate-utilising methanogens played a minor role in the competition for electron donor, probably due to the availability of graphite granules as electron acceptors.
Rhizosphere anode model explains high oxygen levels during operation of a Glyceria maxima PMFC
Timmers, R.A. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Arampatzoglou, C. ; Buisman, C.J.N. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. - \ 2012
Bioresource Technology 108 (2012). - ISSN 0960-8524 - p. 60 - 67.
microbial fuel-cells - triticum-aestivum l - rice plants - electricity production - root exudation - organic-acids - carbon - solubilization - rhizodeposits - turnover
In this paper, the effect of root oxygen loss on energy recovery of the plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is described. In this manner, advanced understanding of competing processes within the rhizosphere-anode interface was provided. A microscopic model was developed on the basis of exudation, oxygen loss, biological oxidation, and biological current generation. The model was successfully validated by comparison to oxygen concentration profiles, volatile fatty acid profiles, and chemical oxygen demand profiles measured in the anode compartment. The model predicted oxic zones around roots in the anode of the plant microbial fuel cell. Results show no direct link between current generation and photosynthesis. This was consistent with the model which predicted that current was generated via hydrolysis of root-derived organic compounds. This result means that to optimize energy recovery of a PMFC, the plant selection should focus on high root biomass production combined with low oxygen loss.
Plant-microbial fuel cells: Matching results and model predictions to show the technological and economical perspectives of PlantPower
Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Helder, M. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Steinbusch, K.J.J. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2011
Comparison of bacterial rhizosphere communities from plant microbial fuel cells with different current production by 454 amplicon sequencing
Rothballer, M. ; Engel, M. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Schloter, M. ; Hartmann, A. - \ 2011
16S Amplicon sequencing and FISH/CLSM analysis to reveal active bacteria communities in high performing Plant Microbial Fuel Cells
Rothballer, M. ; Engel, M. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Schloter, M. ; Hartmann, A. - \ 2011
Plant Microbial Fuel Cells; a new marine energy source
Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Helder, M. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Steinbusch, K.J.J. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2011
Worldwide there is need for more clean, renewable, sustainable energy. Plant microbial fuel cells (Plant- MFCs) generate in-situ green electricity(Strik, Hamelers et al. 2008). How does this work? By photosynthesis the plant is capturing solar energy which is transformed into chemical energy as organic matter. Easily 20 to 40% of this organic matter is released via the plant roots into the bioanode of the microbial fuel cell. At the anode electrochemically active oxidise the organic matter while using the carbon anode electrode as final electron acceptor. The released electrons flow via energy harvester to the cathode were typically oxygen is reduced. Under Western European weather conditions a power output of 3.2 W/m2 is expected which is up to 10 times higher than conventional biomass electricity systems (Strik, Timmers et al. 2011). At this moment the Plant-MFCs long term power output is 50 mW/m2 which is attractive for powering sensors or LEDs (Timmers, Strik et al. 2010). To achieve more plantpower larger areas are needed. Plants in Plant-MFCs grown under waterlogged conditions to support the preferred conditions in the anode. Therefore it's interesting to integrate Plant-MFCs into salt marsh wetlands as these are widely present. In Western Europe salt marshes, common cord-grass (Spartina anglica) is one of the dominant species (Roberts and Pullin 2008). Spartina anglica is used as one of the model plants in the Plant-MFC. The objective of the presentation is to give an overview of recent results of Spartina anglica Plant-MFCs and show the identified challenges to improve system performance. Lab scale experiments and model work was performed. Discussed will be the value of the technology and challenges to introduce a Plant-MFC into marine ecosystems
Modelling microbial competition in plant microbial fuel cells
Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Helder, M. ; Steinbusch, K.J.J. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2011
Microbial solar cells: applying photosynthetic and electrochemically active organisms
Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Helder, M. ; Steinbusch, K.J.J. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2011
Trends in Biotechnology 29 (2011)1. - ISSN 0167-7799 - p. 41 - 49.
fuel-cells - electricity production - bioelectrochemical systems - energy performance - green electricity - biogas production - oxygen reduction - ion-transport - waste-water - rice plants
Microbial solar cells (MSCs) are recently developed technologies that utilize solar energy to produce electricity or chemicals. MSCs use photoautotrophic microorganisms or higher plants to harvest solar energy, and use electrochemically active microorganisms in the bioelectrochemical system to generate electrical current. Here, we review the principles and performance of various MSCs in an effort to identify the most promising systems, as well as the bottlenecks and potential solutions, for “real-life” MSC applications. We present an outlook on future applications based on the intrinsic advantages of MSCs, specifically highlighting how these living energy systems can facilitate the development of an electricity-producing green roof.
Zn-Ni sulfide selective precipitation: The role of supersaturation
Sampaio, R.M.M. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Kocks, N. ; Andre, V. ; Duarte, M.T. ; Hullebusch, E.D. van; Farges, F. ; Lens, P.N.L. - \ 2010
Separation and Purification Technology 74 (2010)1. - ISSN 1383-5866 - p. 108 - 118.
acid-mine drainage - nickel sulfide - zinc-sulfide - homogeneous precipitation - metal sulfides - stirred-tank - kinetics - surface - solubility - transition
The selective removal of Zn with Na2S from a mixture of Zn and Ni was studied in a continuously stirred tank reactor. At pH 5 and pS 18 the selectivity was improved from 61% to 99% by reducing the supersaturation at the dosing points by means of the reduction of the influent concentrations. The particle size distribution (PSD) of the precipitates increased as the supersaturation decreased up to a mode of about 22 mu m at pH 5. PSD values on the 100-200 mu m range were obtained when the sulfide was dosed through a polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) membrane at low supersaturation. Zn precipitated as sphalerite, whereas Ni mainly formed amorphous particles with a pH dependent stoichiometry.
Long-term performance of a plant microbial fuel cell with Spartina anglica
Timmers, R.A. ; Strik, D.P.B.T.B. ; Hamelers, H.V.M. ; Buisman, C.J.N. - \ 2010
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 86 (2010)3. - ISSN 0175-7598 - p. 973 - 981.
salt-marsh - electricity production - alterniflora - generation - transport - growth - rhizosphere - bacteria - dynamics - cathode
The plant microbial fuel cell is a sustainable and renewable way of electricity production. The plant is integrated in the anode of the microbial fuel cell which consists of a bed of graphite granules. In the anode, organic compounds deposited by plant roots are oxidized by electrochemically active bacteria. In this research, salt marsh species Spartina anglica generated current for up to 119 days in a plant microbial fuel cell. Maximum power production was 100 mW m-2 geometric anode area, highest reported power output for a plant microbial fuel cell. Cathode overpotential was the main potential loss in the period of oxygen reduction due to slow oxygen reduction kinetics at the cathode. Ferricyanide reduction improved the kinetics at the cathode and increased current generation with a maximum of 254%. In the period of ferricyanide reduction, the main potential loss was transport loss. This research shows potential application of microbial fuel cell technology in salt marshes for bio-energy production with the plant microbial fuel cell
Selective precipitation of Cu from Zn in a pS controlled continuously stirred tank reactor
Sampaio, R.M. ; Timmers, R.A. ; Xu, Y. ; Keesman, K.J. ; Lens, P.N.L. - \ 2009
Journal of Hazardous Materials 165 (2009)1-3. - ISSN 0304-3894 - p. 256 - 265.
acid-mine drainage - sulfate-reducing bacteria - heavy-metal precipitation - sulfide precipitation - ion-exchange - copper speciation - sphalerite zns - removal - water - separation
Copper was continuously and selectively precipitated with Na2S to concentrations below 0.3 ppb from water containing around 600 ppm of both Cu and Zn in a Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor. The pH was controlled at 3 and the pS at 25 (pS = ¿log(S2¿)) by means of an Ag2S sulfide selective electrode. Copper's recovery and purity were about 100%, whereas the total soluble sulfide concentration was below 0.02 ppm. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis showed that copper precipitated as hexagonal CuS (covellite). The mode of the particle size distribution (PSD) of the CuS precipitates was around 36 ¿m. The PSD increased by high pS values and by the presence of Zn. Depending on the turbulence, the CuS precipitates can grow up to 200 ¿m or fragment in particles smaller than 3 ¿m in a few seconds. Zn precipitation with Na2S at pH 3 and 4, in batch, always lead to Zn concentrations above 1 ppm. Zn precipitated as cubic ZnS (spharelite)
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