Microbial fuel cells (MFCs), as a sustainable and promising technology to solve both environmental pollution and energy shortage, have captured tremendous attention. The conversion efficiency of chemical energy contained in organic waste or wastewater to electricity via microbial metabolism strongly depends on the performance of each functional unit, including the anode, cathode and separator/membrane used in MFCs. Therefore, significant attention has been paid toward developing advanced functional materials to enhance the performance of each unit or provide new featured functions. This review paper provides a comprehensive review on recent achievements and advances in the modification and development of functional materials for MFC systems, including 1) the development of functional anode materials for enhanced microbial compatibilities as well as electron transfer capabilities, 2) the development of cost-effective separators/membranes such as ion exchange membrane, porous membrane, polymer electrolyte membrane and composite membrane, and 3) the development of functional cathode catalysts to decrease the over-potential and enhance the electrocatalytic efficiency for oxygen reduction reaction in order to substitute the common costly Pt catalyst. The challenges and outlooks of functional materials for MFC applications are also discussed.
- functional material
- microbial fuel cell