Microbial electrolysis cells for electromethanogenesis: Materials, configurations and operations

Aditya Amrut Pawar, Anandakrishnan Karthic, Sangmin Lee, Soumya Pandit, Sokhee P. Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Anaerobic digestion is a traditional method of producing methane-containing biogas by utilizing the methanogenic conversion of organic matter like agricultural waste and animal excreta. Recently, the application of microbial electrolysis cell (MECs) technology to a traditional anaerobic digestion system has been extensively studied to find new opportunities in increasing wastewater treatability and methane yield and producing valuable chemicals. The finding that both anodic and cathodic bacteria can synthesize methane has led to the efforts of optimizing multiple aspects like microbial species, formation of biofilms, substrate sources and electrode surface for higher production of the combustible compound. MECs are very fascinating because of its ability to uptake a wide variety of raw materials including untreated wastewater (and its microbial content as biocatalysts). Extensive work in this field has established different systems of MECs for hydrogen production and biodegradation of organic compounds. This review is dedicated to explaining the operating principles and mechanism of the MECs for electromethanogenesis using different biochemical pathways. Emphasis on single-and double-chambered MECs along with reactor components is provided for a comprehensive description of the technology. Methane production using hydrogen evolution reaction and nanocatalysts has also been discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200484
JournalEnvironmental Engineering Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromethanogenesis
  • Hydrogen evolution reaction
  • Microbial electrolysis cells
  • Nanocatalysts
  • Process improvement
  • Renewable energy production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial electrolysis cells for electromethanogenesis: Materials, configurations and operations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this