Review of microbial fuel cell from a techno-economic perspective

Saad Saleem Khan, Mohsin Amjad, Hussain Shareef, Stephen Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This review presents a techno-economic analysis of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) in the domain of generating sustainable energy and treating wastewater with the aim of attracting investors through research and development for residential and commercial applications. The operation principles and various MFC types, along with their advantages and disadvantages, are thoroughly considered. The efficiency of various MFC types is considered to present appropriate options for commercial applications. However, large-scale integrations face substantial financial limitations owing to the reluctance of investors. This review explores the cost-benefit balance associated with the operation of an MFC system. For encouraging investors, different cost variables, such as the initial investment, operating costs, potential electricity generation, and waste treatment capacity, are thoroughly considered. These variables are placed on the spectrum of a cost-benefit analysis to vitalize the economic feasibility of the MFC technology in various scenarios, considering an order of financial variables. MFC development at an optimized cost is the pivotal pre-requisite to secure a competitive advantage over conventional sources of energy with carbon emissions. Thus, this study is expected to prompt decision-makers to adopt the MFC technology at the commercial level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-398
Number of pages26
JournalEnergy Exploration and Exploitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Microbial
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • energy
  • fuel cell
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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