Microbial peroxide producing cells (MPPCs) are microbial electrochemical cells used to synthesize hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the cathode chamber. Catholyte hydraulic retention time (HRT), different catholytes and their concentrations, and a ferrochelating stabilizer are varied in a continuous-flow cathode MPPC to evaluate their impacts on performance. Using NaCl catholytes, the MPPC produced as high as 3.1 ± 0.37 g H2O2 L−1 at a 4-h HRT with as little as 1.13 W-h g−1 H2O2 energy input and with up to 57 g Lcathode−1 d−1 at a 1-h HRT. For these conditions, the H2O2 production rate provides more than 3 times the H2O2 required for disinfection or micro-pollutant removal while using 5–25% of the power used in conventional H2O2 production processes. Attempts to improve H2O2-production by adding weak acid buffers or H2O2-stabilizing EDTA fail for different reasons. The addition of the ferrochelator EDTA to prevent H2O2 auto-decay deteriorates MPPC performance, because EDTA diffuses from the cathode to the anode, inhibiting iron utilization by anode-respiring bacteria. Weak acid buffers failed to reduce cathode concentration overpotentials. Buffering catholytes lowered the H2O2 yield due to large pH gradients at the cathode chamber entrance, causing the formation of H2O instead of H2O2 or O2 re-formation from H2O2 auto-decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-458
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 2017


  • Anode respiring bacteria
  • Bioelectrochemical systems
  • Cathodes
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Microbial fuel cells
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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