On the Edge of Research and Technological Application: A Critical Review of Electromethanogenesis

The conversion of electrical current into methane (electromethanogenesis) by microbes represents one of the most promising applications of bioelectrochemical systems (BES). Electromethanogenesis provides a novel approach to waste treatment, carbon dioxide fixation and renewable energy storage into a chemically stable compound, such as methane. This has become an important area of research since it was first described, attracting different research groups worldwide. Basics of the process such as microorganisms involved and main reactions are now much better understood, and recent advances in BES configuration and electrode materials in lab-scale enhance the interest in this technology. However, there are still some gaps that need to be filled to move towards its application. Side reactions or scaling-up issues are clearly among the main challenges that need to be overcome to its further development. This review summarizes the recent advances made in the field of electromethanogenesis to address the main future challenges and opportunities of this novel process. In addition, the present fundamental knowledge is critically reviewed and some insights are provided to identify potential niche applications and help researchers to overcome current technological boundaries ​
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