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Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Biosensors and Bioelectronics


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/bios

New architecture for modulization of membraneless


and single-chambered microbial fuel cell using
a bipolar plate-electrode assembly (BEA)
Junyeong An a,b, Bongkyu Kim a, Jae Kyung Jang c, Hyung-Sool Lee b, In Seop Chang a,n
a
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), 261 Cheomdan-gwagiro, Buk-gu,
Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea
b
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
c
Energy and Environment Engineering Division, National Institute of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Suwon 441-707,
Republic of Korea

art ic l e i nf o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 15 November 2013
Received in revised form
21 February 2014
Accepted 25 February 2014
Available online 16 March 2014

A new architecture for a membraneless and single-chambered microbial fuel cell (MFC) which has a
unique bipolar plate-electrode assembly (BEA) design was demonstrated. The maximum power of MFC
units connected in series (denoted as a stacked MFC) was up to 22.8 7 0.13 mW/m2 for 0.946 7 0.003 V
working voltage, which is 2.5 times higher than the averaged maximum power density of the nonstacked MFC units. The power density in the stacked MFC using BEA was comparable to the stacked MFC
using electric wire. These results demonstrate that BEAs having air-exposed cathodes can potentially be
used in the stacking of membraneless single-chambered MFCs. In addition, we conrmed that the
current in the stacked mode owed faster than the non-stacked mode due to voltage increase by series
connection, and the poorest of the stacked units quickly faced current depletion at higher external
resistance than the non-stacked mode, leading to voltage reversal. These results imply that stacked MFC
units require a relatively large current capacity in order to prevent high voltage reversal at high current
region. To increase total current capacity and prevent voltage reversal of stacked MFC units, we
suggested series/parallel-integrated MFC module system for scaling-up. This new concept could likely
allow the application of MFC technology to be extended to various wastewater treatment processes or
plants.
& 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Microbial fuel cell
Microbial electrochemical cell
MFC stack
Series connection
Stacked MFC

1. Introduction
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are promising technologies for
producing electricity from waste organic matter (Kim et al., 1999;
Chang et al., 2006). For this reason, researchers have been striving
to use these devises for energy-recovering wastewater treatment.
The maximum theoretical voltage from a single individual MFC is
!1.1 V at pH 7 at open circuit mode, when acetate is used as the
electron donor and O2 as the electron acceptor (Logan et al., 2006).
However, an achievable working voltage in a single MFC ranges
from ! 0.2 to ! 0.5 V that is not sufcient for operating electronics
(Kim et al., 2011, 2012), which typically require an input voltage of
over 1.55 V. To satisfy such voltages, MFCs could be connected in
series for voltage-up; indeed, many researchers have been trying to
increase voltage by connecting MFCs in series. Aelterman et al.
(2006) demonstrated the possibility of boosting the voltage up to

Corresponding author. Tel.: 82 2 715 3278; fax: 82 2 715 2434.


E-mail address: ischang@gist.ac.kr (I.S. Chang).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2014.02.063
0956-5663/& 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2 V through a serial connection of six MFCs. Oh and Logan (2007)


reported a power increase and several electrochemical phenomena
occurring in a series connection, further promoting the practical
use of electrical energy harvested from MFCs. Dekker et al. (2009)
produced a working voltage of 3.1 V by connecting 4 MFCs in series
at an external resistor of 1 k. In addition, Ieropoulos et al. (2013)
showed a successful use of serially-connected MFCs for powering
mobile phone. They obtained an open circuit voltage of ! 7.2 V for
a maximum working voltage of ! 2.15 V (current: 3 mA) in 24
MFCs. Despite that these previous studies showed that MFCs could
produce a voltage for applications by series connection, scale-up of
MFCs in series is being hindered by chambered architecture and
components. Most MFCs require either a closed chamber or two
chambers separated by an ion exchange membrane in order to
prevent organics or oxidants crossing over to a counter chamber.
However, chambered congurations having a membrane show
limitations for scaling-up MFCs; for instance, the membrane
requires regular cleaning when biofouling or contamination on
membrane surface occurs (Xu et al., 2012). In addition, closed twochambered MFCs should be designed to ensure that the membrane

J. An et al. / Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

is not physically damaged by the high hydraulic pressure occurring


in large-scale systems; even single-chambered MFCs using aircathodes or membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) are not free
from these challenges. Another concern for fabricating large-scale
MFCs and their operation could be the availability of system
optimization to minimize the internal resistance of the entire
system. The use of one large electrode can cause MFCs to lose cell
voltage (i.e., voltage drop) because of the internal resistance and
mixed potential formation (Dewan et al., 2008; Harnisch et al.,
2009).
For MFCs to be applied in the energy-recovering wastewater
treatment process, both the entire conguration and unit cells
should be scalable, modulable, and stackable in series, along with
having a low operating cost and be easily serviceable. In this study,
we employed a bipolar-plate electrode assembly to demonstrate a
pragmatic approach for scaling-up in order to connect MFCs in
series, along with passive air provision to the cathode; we then
interpret the overvoltages occurring in the developed economic,
stacked MFC conguration.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Microbial fuel cell construction with a bipolar-plate electrode
assembly
Fig. 1(a) and (b) presents the unique architectures used in this
study. In brief, the MFC system employs: (a) a bipolar-plate
electrode assembly (BEA) consisting of an anode (graphite felt)
on the bottom of individual MFCs, interfaced plate (rigid graphite
plate) for bipolar function, and air-exposed cathode (graphite
felt) on the top of the MFCs to compactify the architecture and
the structure for a serial connection, and (b) an open compartment with no membrane in order to resolve membrane maintenance issues and a closed single- or two-chambered conguration. Fig. 1(c) and (d) illustrates dimensions of the MFC unit and
its components, and the series-connected units (denoted as a
stacked MFC). An individual MFC unit was composed of a
cylindrical acrylic body (5 cm inner diameter, 9 cm height), an
anode (5 cm diameter, 2.54 cm thickness), a cathode (5 cm
diameter, 2.54 cm thickness), and a rigid waterproof graphite
plate (thickness 0.2 cm, diameter 5 cm) on the bottom of the MFC
to inhibit water leakage and air inux to the anode. A part of the
cathode (2.04 cm) was exposed to air, while the other part of the
cathode (0.5 cm) was immersed in medium. By directly connecting three MFC units with no external wires, we built a stacked
MFC (Fig. 1(d)). A basic description of the stacked MFC conguration is as follows: the anode at the top of the waterproof
graphite plate in the MFC unit (e.g., upper MFC unit (Fig. 1(c)) is
stacked on the cathode in another MFC unit (e.g., lower MFC unit
(Fig. 1(e)), which is connected in series in a BEA structure
(Fig. 1(a)). The structure of the BEA component is a key component in this study, which allows for the vertical modularization of
membraneless air-cathode MECs in series without disturbing
anode respiring bacteria (ARB) (Lee et al., 2010) metabolism,
due to the presence of a rigid waterproof graphite plate between
the anode and cathode.
2.2. Microbial fuel cell inoculation and operation
We inoculated each MFC unit with 157 ml of anaerobic digestion sludge, obtained from a brewery wastewater treatment plant
(Gwangju, Korea), and fed an acetate (10 mM) medium (An et al.,
2011) into the system at a ow rate of 0.0727 0.8 ml/min
(hydraulic retention time (HRT): 36.3573.27 h) using a peristaltic
pump (Cole-Parmer Instrument Co., East Bunker Court Vernon

29

Hills, IL, USA). Each unit was operated under closed circuit mode at
a 10 external load until the voltage became stable (in ! 4 days)
in order to establish a viable microbial community in the anode
compartment.
2.3. Electrochemical analyses
After conrming the steady voltage output in the MFC, we
changed MFC operation to open circuit mode and conducted
discharging tests for each individual MFC unit (denoted as nonstacked units 1, 2, and 3). We varied the external loads toward
lower external resistance from 100 k to 1 k (e.g., 100 k,
40 k, 30 k, 20 k, 15 k, 10 k, 5 k, and 1 k) in order.
The discharging time for each load was 15 min, and the voltages
were monitored every 10 s using a multimeter (Keithley 2700,
Keithley Co., Cleveland, OH, USA). During the tests the voltage in
the non-stacked units was stabilized in 10 min at each external
load. When stabilized the voltage was collected at 30 points for
5 min to compute the current density and the power density using
jV/(RA) and P IV/A, respectively, where j is the current density
(mA/m2), V is the voltage (V) in individual units, R is the external
load applied to the units, A is the surface area (m2) of the anode
electrode, P is the power density (mW/m2) in the units, and I is the
current (mA) in the units. We averaged 30 points with standard
deviation. In the same manner, we then fully recharged the nonstacked units, converted the units to the stacked MFC mode, and
carried out discharging tests for the stacked MFC. To assess the
BEA performance in the stacked MFC, for comparison, discharging
tests were conducted by connecting non-stacked units in series
using electrical wires. We then extracted voltagecurrent density
(Vj) curves, and power densitycurrent density (Pj) curves were
obtained from the discharging experiments. The internal resistances of the non-stacked units (i.e., non-stacked mode) and the
stacked MFC (i.e., stacked mode) were subsequently analyzed to
assess factors affecting overvoltages in the stacked MFC. Next, the
internal resistances were estimated from the Nyquist plots
obtained via electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) spectra using AutoLab (Eco Chemie, Utrecht, The Netherlands), which
were combined with an impedance analyzer module (PGSTAT 30
with FRA-ADC, Eco Chemie, Utrecht, The Netherlands). EIS spectra
were measured over a frequency range of 100 kHz0.01 Hz under
alternating voltage conditions at the cathode in open circuit
potential, at a 710 mV amplitude in a two electrode conguration
(An et al., 2011). Then, EIS data were tted to an equivalent Randle
circuit model to estimate the charge transfer resistance (Rct) and
solution resistance (Rs) for the anode and the cathode of the
individual units.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Performance of stacked MFCs with BEA
Fig. 2 shows Vj and Pj curves obtained from the non-stacked
units and the stacked MFC. The OCVs of the non-stacked units
were 0.53 V, 0.51 V, and 0.53 V; the OCV of the stacked MFC triple
at 1.58 V. The maximum power density obtained from the stacked
MFC was 22.8 70.13 mW/m2 for 0.9467 0.003 V working voltage,
which is 2.5 times higher than the averaged maximum power
density of the individual MFC units (Fig. 2(A) and (B)). From these
results, we can see that the BEA structure is applicable to
membraneless MFCs for connection in series.
As the external resistance was lowered, the voltage of the
stacked MFC linearly decreased between the OCV and 15 k
condition. The magnitude of the voltage drop in the stacked MFC
was 0.774 70.004 V between the OCV and 15 k, which was

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J. An et al. / Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

Fig. 1. Dimensions and architecture of membraneless MFC units; the series connection of the units (stacked MFC) using a bipolar plate-electrode assembly (BEA).

much larger than for the non-stacked MFCs (see Fig. 2(A)). This
overvoltage increase in the stacked MFC mode could probably be
due to an increase of Rct and Rs by stacking the MFCs (An et al.,
2011)the total internal resistance of a stacked MFC theoretically
increases as much as the sum of internal resistances in stacked
units (Pain, 1996).
To identify whether the overvoltage of 0.774 7 0.004 V
between the OCV and 15 k was caused by the increase of Rct
and Rs, Nyquist plots were obtained via EIS measurements
(Fig. 3). As expected, the anode Rct, cathode Rct, and Rs of the
stacked MFC were almost the same as the sum of the anode Rct,
cathode Rct, and Rs of the three non-stacked units (Table 1).
Among these values, the anode Rct in the stacked MFC was much
smaller than Rs and the cathode Rct; from these results, it was
identied that Rs and the cathode Rct in the stacked MFC were
the most critical resistancesaccounting for 96.8% (Rs: 47.9%,
cathode Rct: 48.9%) of the total internal resistance. Note that
Rs includes an electronic resistance (RE) and ionic resistance
(RI) (Rismani-Yazdi et al., 2008); hence, there could be two
possibilities for such a high Rs in the stacked MFC: (1) high RE

occurring in the BEA, or (2) high RI occurring in the solution


between the anode and cathode of each stacked unit. It is
posited here that if conduction is insufcient in the BEA,
resulting from the incomplete contact of rigid graphite to the
electrodes, Rs could thus be increased. In order to conrm which
resistance dominantly affected the Rs of the stacked MFC, the RE
of the BEAs was analyzed using Nyquist plots. The RE was 1.3
between units 1 and 2 and 1.6 between units 2 and 3 of the
stacked MFC, corresponding to ! 1% ([(1.3 1.6)/303.46] $
100 0.95%) of the total Rs (EIS data not shown).
In addition to EIS measurements, we determined the performance of another type of a stacked MFC that connects an anode
with a cathode using Ptcopper wires (Fig. 4). As a result, we
found that the power density of the stacked MFC using BEA was
comparable to the stacked MFC using these wires, indicating that
BEA architecture could be a potent alternative for modulization of
membraneless and single-chambered MFCs (Fig. 4). Based on
these ndings, we thus conrmed that BEAs having air-exposed
cathodes can potentially be used in the stacking of membraneless
MFCs. In addition, it was conrmed that RI and the cathode Rct are

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J. An et al. / Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

a main source of the overvoltage that occurs between the OCV and
15 k external resistance conditions. It should be noted that the
overvoltage (i.e., voltage-drop) by RI and cathode Rct is a part of the
entire overvoltage incurred throughout the 1001 k range in the
stacked MFC.

Fig. 2. (A) Vj curves obtained from non-stacked units 1, 2, 3, and the stacked MFC
using 100 k, 40 k, 30 k, 20 k, 15 k, 10 k, 5 k, and 1 k external loads and
(B): Pj curves obtained from non-stacked units 1, 2, 3, and the stacked MFC
with BEA.

Fig. 3. (A) Nyquist plots obtained from the non-stacked units 1, 2, 3, and (B) the
stacked MFC.

3.2. Implication of voltage drop at high external resistance


in stacked MFC
Another signicant overvoltage of 0.73570.003 V in the stacked
MFC also occurred between the external resistors of 15 k and 1 k,
through which the voltage was gradually decreased and became
similar to that in the non-stacked unit 2 (Fig. 2(A)). In addition, the
linearity of the voltage drop of the stacked MFC between 10 k and
1 k was steeper than for the non-stacked units (Fig. 2(A)). Hence, it
could be thought that this overvoltage was caused by a mass transfer
limitation. However, it is recognized that this interpretation may be
somewhat controversial because in this region the overvoltages in
non-stacked units were not really signicant compared to the
stacked MFC, even at 1 k (Fig. 2(A)). In contrast, it was distinctly
observed that a signicant overvoltage of 0.73570.003 V in the
stacked MFC occurred between 10 k and 1 k, through which a
faradaic current ows. At 1 k, the voltage of the stacked MFC was
0.07370.001 V, similar to that of unit 2 (0.07870.004 V); the
current densities in the stacked MFC and unit 2 were 37.17
0.5 mA/m2 and 39.570.4 mA/m2, respectively. These results indicate
that the performance of the stacked MFC was even worse than that
of unit 2, which showed the worst performance of the three
individual MFC units. The reason for the lower performance in the
stacked MFC could be explained by a voltage reversal phenomenon
(An and Lee, in press) and a circuit theory in which the amount of
current is proportional to the voltage applied when electrochemical
cells are connected in series (Pain, 1996). Fig. 5 presents voltage
evolution in the stacked MFC and each unit in the stacked MFC
(denoted as stacked units 1, 2, and 3) between 100 k and 1 k. As
seen in the gure, the voltage of the stacked unit 2 reached ! 0 V at
10 k where units 1 and 2 maintain positive voltages of ! 0.223 and
0.321 V, respectively. At the next external resistance of 5 k, the
voltage in the stacked unit 1 dropped to % 0.066 V, implying the
occurrence of voltage reversal. Voltage reversal is a well-known
phenomenon in the research eld of chemical fuel cells and MFCs,
and elucidates lowering power density in stacked MFCs (Oh and
Logan, 2007; An and Lee, 2014). In Fig. 2(A) it is obvious that the
current and the voltage in the stacked MFC are larger than those
in the non-stacked units at the external resistances below 10 k
(see arrows in the gure), indicating that the current in the stacked

Fig. 4. Comparison of stacked MFC performances using BEA and Ptcopper wires.

Table 1
Internal resistance analyzed from Nyquist plots.
Internal resistance ()

Non-stacked unit 1

Non-stacked unit 2

Non-stacked unit 3

Non-stacked unit 1 2 3

Stacked MFC

Anode Rct
Cathode Rct
Rs
Sum

5.21 7 0.11
109.337 3.66
83.64 7 0.00
198.18 7 3.76

10.96 70.68
114.48 75.27
139.09 70.01
264.55 75.94

6.39 7 0.05
102.86 7 9.40
86.017 0.01
195.277 9.45

22.477 0.84
326.67718.33
308.747 0.02
658.007 19.15

20.46 70.26
310.00 711.78
303.46 70.01
633.93712.05

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J. An et al. / Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

Fig. 5. Evolutions of voltage to external loads in stacked units and stacked MFC
obtained from discharging tests.

MFCs traveled much faster than in the non-stacked units at the


external resistances below 10 k due to the voltage increase
because of the series stacking, and that the stacked unit 2 quickly
faced current depletion resulting in voltage reversal at 5 k (see
Figs. 2(A) and 5). Note that the VI curves of both the stacked and
non-stacked MFC units were plotted in order to obtain the direction
of low to high current (i.e., external resistance was high to low).
Apparently, the stacked MFC units worked in terms of current and
volt boosting when the external resistance was higher than 5 k,
indicating that the resistance of 5 k is a threshold at which the
stacked MFC cannot boost power and can cause voltage reversal
when connected in series (see Figs. 2 and 5). However, the threshold
resistance may be changed by the number of stacked units in
stacking mode or their current capacity. For instance, if the number
of stacked units is increased, there will be a larger current ow in the
stacked units due to the voltage increase. As a result, the threshold

Fig. 6. Series/parallel-integrated MFC module system for scaling-up.

J. An et al. / Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

resistance could be raised to over 5 k. In contrast, if the stacked


units have a relatively larger current capacity, the threshold external
resistance could become smaller and thus the stacked MFC would
boost the voltage and current even at an external resistance smaller
than 5 k. Hence, the number of stacking units and their current
capacity should be considered critical parameters for designing a
stacked MFC system.
3.3. Conceptual structure of series/parallel-integrated MFC module
and system upgrade
In this paper, we developed a new MFC stacking conguration
using a BEA structure and then assessed the overvoltage occurring
in the stacked MFC system. We found that the current in the
stacked MFCs traveled much faster than in the non-stacked units
until 10 k due to the voltage increase resulted from the series
stacking, and that the stacked unit 2 quickly faced current
depletion leading to voltage reversal at 5 k (see Figs. 2(A)
and 5). Recently An and Lee (2014) interpreted that voltage
reversal is a result of electrical energy transition from a powerful
MFC to a weak MFC of stacked MFC units, leading to signicant
anode potential increase over its cathode potential or vice versa. It
is well known that anode potential regulates ARB activity and
community (Aelterman et al., 2008; Torres et al., 2009). Torres
et al. (2009) performed the comparison study for ARB characteristic at different anode potentials using aerobic activity sludge as
inoculum, and they demonstrated that ARB grown at anode
potentials of % 0.15 V and %0.09 V produced approximately 17
times higher current compared to that imposed at an higher
potential of 0.37 V. They also showed that the anode microbial
community imposed at % 0.15 V was 99% similar to Geobacter
sulfurreducens (G. sulfurreducens), but at the higher anode potential
of 0.37 V the anode has diverse microbial community comprised
of Bacteriodetes, actinoacteria, - and -proteoacteria (Torres et al.,
2009). Accordingly increase in anode potential due to voltage
reversal could result in change of anode ARB activity and community, which might cause substantial energy loss. Hence, the prevention of voltage reversal in our BEA-equipped MFC system is most
critical for long-term operation and high voltage output. Importantly, with this BEA structure, our conguration is also designed for
a parallel connection which can prevent voltage reversal (Ledezma
et al., 2013; Ieropoulos et al., 2013). The terminal graphite plate
illustrated in Fig. 6(a) functions as a bridge to connect the anode
ends of stacked MFCs; the cathodes of the top MFC units of the
stacked MFCs can be connected using a rigid graphite ring bridge
(or metal ring bridge) (Fig. 6(b)). It is posited here that a parallel
connection may not only help in increasing the current capacity but
also prevent voltage reversal by balancing voltages among serially
connected BEA modules (Ieropoulos et al., 2013).
Despite the successful current and voltage boosting obtained
using a series connection in this study, it is not yet sufcient for
operating electric devices or machines, thus indicating that the MFC
system should be upgraded. There are several options for the MFC
upgrade; as one, the performance of stacked MFC systems can be
improved by employing cathode catalysts that lowers the activation
energy of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Note that our MFC
units did not use any metal catalysts for the cathodes, such as Pt/C
and carbon nanotubes, which are commonly used in ORRs (Qiao
et al., 2010; Cheng et al., 2006); furthermore, there was no chemical
pretreatment for the anode or cathode. As such, we expect that the
current and power density can be substantially improved in our
stacked MFC conguration by employing metal catalysts and an
electrode pretreatment.
BEA structure is designed to vertically stack MFCs, thus the use
of a membrane might cause trapping of biogas such as CH4 or H2
which can interferes with ion mass transport (An et al., 2009).

33

To eliminate the possibility of biogas trapping in the BEA structure,


we did not employ a membrane in our system. However, because
oxygen invasion from the cathode to the anode was an issue in our
membraneless BEA architecture, we kept the distance between the
anode and cathode at ! 9 cm such that aerobic heterotrophic
bacteria can capture the oxygen diffusing to the anode, although
the increased distance led to a signicant increase in solution
resistance (An et al., 2009, 2010). Despite of the concern of oxygen
invasion from the cathode to the anode in the membraneless BEA
system, DO concentration of the catholyte in contact with the
bottom side of the cathode (1.27 cm depth from solution surface)
was almost 0 mg/L, indicating that the electrodes can be positioned as close as possible (41 cm) to minimize solution resistance. However, DO concentration in a solution was dependent on
organic strength (An et al., 2010). If COD at the cathode was kept
less than 40 mg/L, oxygen invasion from the cathode to the anode
could become signicant and could inactivate ARB (An et al., 2010).
On the other hand, if the COD was increased over 40 mg/L, the BEA
cathode in direct contact with an organic rich solution (medium)
with no membranecould suffer biofouling with aerobic heterotrophic bacteria. This can lower the cathodic kinetic activity due to
excessive oxygen consumption on the cathode and mixed potential formation (An et al., 2009, 2010, 2011). In this case, coating the
bottom side of the cathode that is in contact with the solution with
silver-nanoparticles could be an effective solution to increase the
DO concentration depleted by aerobic heterotrophic bacteria on
the cathode (An et al., 2011). Since silver-nanoparticles would then
inhibit growth of aerobic heterotrophic bacteria on the bottom
side of the cathode, a cathode immersed in this solution could
efciently react to oxygen in the solution (An et al., 2011).
The concept suggested in this paper is relatively simple and
cost effective because using an air-exposed cathode (passive
provision of oxygen to the cathode) with no membrane enables
the development of a compact MFC system to be modularized in a
series connection without requiring external wires. As such, this
new concept might allow the application of MFC technology to be
extended to large-scale wastewater treatment processes.

4. Conclusions
Our stacked MFC with BEA produced a maximum power
density of 22.8 70.13 mW/m2 for 0.94670.003 V working voltage,
which is 2.5 times higher than the averaged maximum power
density of the non-stacked MFC units. The power density of the
stacked MFC using BEA was comparable to the stacked MFC using
the wires. Hence, BEA architecture could be a potent alternative
for stacking membraneless single-chambered MFCs vertically.
The current in the stacked mode owed much faster than the
non-stacked mode until 10 k external load due to voltage
increase by series connection. For this reason, the poorest of the
stacked units quickly faced a signicant overvoltage at higher
external resistor, resulting in voltage reversal. Hence, to prevent
the high overvoltage and resulted voltage reversal, stacked MFC
units should have a relatively high current capacity. This could be
crucial and informative to modeling stacked MFCs.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Research Foundation
(NRF) (NRF-2013R1A2A2A03014551), the Pioneer Research Center
for Nano-Morphic Biology Energy Conversion and Storage (20090082812), and the Research Program for Agricultural Science &
Technology Development (Project nos. PJ008517 and PJ00851703
2013) of the Korean government.

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J. An et al. / Biosensors and Bioelectronics 59 (2014) 2834

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