Industrial fermentation and biological wastewater treatment are usually based on redox processes taking place in living cells and on enzyme processes. The practical application of these redox processes is usually associated with electricity generation in microbial fuel cells or process enhancement in microbial electrolysis cells. The microbial fuel cell approach leads to straightforward wastewater treatment with less energy demand. Additional advantages of these processes are the direct removal of various pollutants and the avoidance of addition of chemical agents with the resulting waste products of treatment as it is familiar with the traditional chemical methods. Another option for the use of bioelectrochemical processes in practice is the approach of microbial electrolysis cells. The application of electric field on fermentation or microbial wastewater treatment processes might result in different aspects: either in purely electrochemical processes on the electrodes or in different types of bioelectrochemical stimulation of enzyme activity in the living cells. These applications are associated with the combination of enzyme activity with electrochemical processes to produce or remove certain compounds rapidly at high concentrations with no additions of other chemicals. In the present chapter, both approaches (microbial fuel cells and microbial electrolysis cells) are presented and discussed. Some practical applications and experimental examples of such bioelectrochemical redox processes stimulated by constant electric field are demonstrated.
Part of the book: Energy Storage Battery Systems