Application of gas diffusion electrodes in bioelectrochemical syntheses and energy conversion

A. E. W. Horst, K.-M. Mangold, D. Holtmann

Combining the advantages of biological components (e.g., reaction specificity, self-replication) and electrochemical techniques in bioelectrochemical systems offers the opportunity to develop novel efficient and sustainable processes for the production of a number of valuable products. The choice of electrode material has a great impact on the performance of bioelectrochemical systems. In addition to the redox process at the electrodes, interactions of biocatalysts with electrodes (e.g., enzyme denaturation or biofouling) need to be considered. In recent years, gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs) have proved to be very attractive electrodes for bioelectrochemical purposes. GDEs are porous electrodes, that posses a large three-phase boundary surface. At this interface, a solid catalyst supports the electrochemical reaction between gaseous and liquid phase. This mini-review discusses the application of GDEs in microbial and enzymatic fuel cells, for microbial electrolysis, in biosensors and for electroenzymatic synthesis reactions.

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