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Recent Application of Nanomaterials to Overcome Technological Challenges of Microbial Electrolysis Cells


Microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) have attracted significant interest as sustainable green hydrogen production devices because they utilize the environmentally friendly biocatalytic oxidation of organic wastes and electrochemical proton reduction with the support of relatively lower external power compared to that used by water electrolysis. However, the commercialization of MEC technology has stagnated owing to several critical technological challenges. Recently, many attempts have been made to utilize nanomaterials in MECs owing to the unique physicochemical properties of nanomaterials originating from their extremely small size (at least <100 nm in one dimension). The extraordinary properties of nanomaterials have provided great clues to overcome the technological hurdles in MECs. Nanomaterials are believed to play a crucial role in the commercialization of MECs. Thus, understanding the technological challenges of MECs, the characteristics of nanomaterials, and the employment of nanomaterials in MECs could be helpful in realizing commercial MEC technologies. Herein, the critical challenges that need to be addressed for MECs are highlighted, and then previous studies that used nanomaterials to overcome the technological difficulties of MECs are reviewed.

Funding source: This work was carried out with the support of the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ016259022021), Rural Development Administration, Korea. This work was also supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. 2020R1C1C101317212).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain

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