Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 4, 2015
Previous Article Next Article

Biophotovoltaics: oxygenic photosynthetic organisms in the world of bioelectrochemical systems

Author affiliations

Abstract

The field of bioelectrochemical system (BES) research includes a wide range of emerging technologies that utilise microbes to catalyze anodic and/or cathodic reactions within a fuel cell setup, and has developed greatly in the last 2–3 years. Although the vast majority of BESs utilise organic substrates as a fuel source (e.g. microbial fuel cells), several systems have been developed that are fuelled by light energy. In this review we focus on and contextualise a specific subset of light-harvesting BESs, which we have called biophotovoltaic systems (BPVs). BPVs utilise oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, such as microalgal and cyanobacterial species, to harvest light energy to generate current, critically, in the absence of an organic feedstock. Here we discuss the state-of-the-art for all light-harvesting BESs and present a novel classification system to illustrate how BPVs integrate into the broad fields of BES and photovoltaic research. We compare and contrast the present understanding of electron transfer pathways in systems that use heterotrophic microbes with those in cyanobacteria-based BPVs. Finally we present, for the first time, an estimate of the achievable power outputs of this emerging technology.

Graphical abstract: Biophotovoltaics: oxygenic photosynthetic organisms in the world of bioelectrochemical systems

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 09 Dec 2014, accepted on 26 Jan 2015 and first published on 05 Feb 2015


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4EE03875D
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2015,8, 1092-1109
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Biophotovoltaics: oxygenic photosynthetic organisms in the world of bioelectrochemical systems

    A. J. McCormick, P. Bombelli, R. W. Bradley, R. Thorne, T. Wenzel and C. J. Howe, Energy Environ. Sci., 2015, 8, 1092
    DOI: 10.1039/C4EE03875D

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements