Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) is a process that uses electricity as an energy source for driving the production of chemicals and fuels using microorganisms and CO2 or organics as carbon sources.
The development of this highly interdisciplinary technology on the interface between biotechnology and electrochemistry requires knowledge and expertise in a variety of scientific and technical areas. The rational development and commercialization of MES can be achieved at a faster pace if the research data and findings are reported in appropriate and uniformly accepted ways. Here we provide a framework for reporting on MES research and propose several pivotal performance indicators to describe these processes. Linked to this study is an online tool to perform necessary calculations and identify data gaps.
A key consideration is the calculation of effective energy expenditure per unit product in a manner enabling cross comparison of studies irrespective of reactor design. We anticipate that the information provided here on different aspects of MES ranging from reactor and process parameters to chemical, electrochemical, and microbial functionality indicators will assist researchers in data presentation and ease data interpretation.
Furthermore, a discussion on secondary MES aspects such as downstream processing, process economics and life cycle analysis is included.