Microbial fuel cells which are operated in continuous mode are more suitable for practical applications than fed batch ones. Three influent types containing carbohydrates were tested, i.e. a glucose medium, a plant extract and artificial wastewater. The anode reactor compartment yielding the best results was a packed bed reactor containing graphite granules. While in non-mediated batch systems power outputs up to 479 W m−3 of anode compartment could be attained; in continuous mode the power outputs were limited to 49 W m−3. Cyclic voltammetry was performed to determine the potential of the in-situ synthesized bacterial redox mediators. Addition of mediators with a potential similar to the bacterial potential did not significantly alter the MFC power output, indicating a limited influence of soluble mediators for continuous microbial fuel cells. Maximum coulombic and energy conversion efficiencies were, for the continuous microbial fuel cell operating on plant extract at a loading rate of 1 kg COD m−3 of anode compartment per day, 50.3% and 26.0% respectively.

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