Influence of Chemical and Physical Properties of Activated Carbon Powders on Oxygen Reduction and Microbial Fuel Cell Performance

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/598622
Title:
Influence of Chemical and Physical Properties of Activated Carbon Powders on Oxygen Reduction and Microbial Fuel Cell Performance
Authors:
Watson, Valerie J.; Nieto Delgado, Cesar; Logan, Bruce E.
Abstract:
Commercially available activated carbon (AC) powders made from different precursor materials (coal, peat, coconut shell, hardwood, and phenolic resin) were electrochemically evaluated as oxygen reduction catalysts and tested as cathode catalysts in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). AC powders were characterized in terms of surface chemistry and porosity, and their kinetic activities were compared to carbon black and platinum catalysts in rotating disk electrode (RDE) tests. Cathodes using the coal-derived AC had the highest power densities in MFCs (1620 ± 10 mW m-2). Peat-based AC performed similarly in MFC tests (1610 ± 100 mW m-2) and had the best catalyst performance, with an onset potential of Eonset = 0.17 V, and n = 3.6 electrons used for oxygen reduction. Hardwood based AC had the highest number of acidic surface functional groups and the poorest performance in MFC and catalysis tests (630 ± 10 mW m-2, Eonset = -0.01 V, n = 2.1). There was an inverse relationship between onset potential and quantity of strong acid (pKa < 8) functional groups, and a larger fraction of microporosity was negatively correlated with power production in MFCs. Surface area alone was a poor predictor of catalyst performance, and a high quantity of acidic surface functional groups was determined to be detrimental to oxygen reduction and cathode performance. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Citation:
Watson VJ, Nieto Delgado C, Logan BE (2013) Influence of Chemical and Physical Properties of Activated Carbon Powders on Oxygen Reduction and Microbial Fuel Cell Performance. Environ Sci Technol: 130603162645003. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es401722j.
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Journal:
Environmental Science & Technology
KAUST Grant Number:
KUS-I1-003-13
Issue Date:
3-Jun-2013
DOI:
10.1021/es401722j
PubMed ID:
23692057
Type:
Article
ISSN:
0013-936X; 1520-5851
Sponsors:
The authors thank Vince Bojan for assistance with XPS analysis. The authors acknowledge support from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) by Award KUS-I1-003-13 and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP).
Appears in Collections:
Publications Acknowledging KAUST Support

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorWatson, Valerie J.en
dc.contributor.authorNieto Delgado, Cesaren
dc.contributor.authorLogan, Bruce E.en
dc.date.accessioned2016-02-25T13:33:18Zen
dc.date.available2016-02-25T13:33:18Zen
dc.date.issued2013-06-03en
dc.identifier.citationWatson VJ, Nieto Delgado C, Logan BE (2013) Influence of Chemical and Physical Properties of Activated Carbon Powders on Oxygen Reduction and Microbial Fuel Cell Performance. Environ Sci Technol: 130603162645003. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es401722j.en
dc.identifier.issn0013-936Xen
dc.identifier.issn1520-5851en
dc.identifier.pmid23692057en
dc.identifier.doi10.1021/es401722jen
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/598622en
dc.description.abstractCommercially available activated carbon (AC) powders made from different precursor materials (coal, peat, coconut shell, hardwood, and phenolic resin) were electrochemically evaluated as oxygen reduction catalysts and tested as cathode catalysts in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). AC powders were characterized in terms of surface chemistry and porosity, and their kinetic activities were compared to carbon black and platinum catalysts in rotating disk electrode (RDE) tests. Cathodes using the coal-derived AC had the highest power densities in MFCs (1620 ± 10 mW m-2). Peat-based AC performed similarly in MFC tests (1610 ± 100 mW m-2) and had the best catalyst performance, with an onset potential of Eonset = 0.17 V, and n = 3.6 electrons used for oxygen reduction. Hardwood based AC had the highest number of acidic surface functional groups and the poorest performance in MFC and catalysis tests (630 ± 10 mW m-2, Eonset = -0.01 V, n = 2.1). There was an inverse relationship between onset potential and quantity of strong acid (pKa < 8) functional groups, and a larger fraction of microporosity was negatively correlated with power production in MFCs. Surface area alone was a poor predictor of catalyst performance, and a high quantity of acidic surface functional groups was determined to be detrimental to oxygen reduction and cathode performance. © 2013 American Chemical Society.en
dc.description.sponsorshipThe authors thank Vince Bojan for assistance with XPS analysis. The authors acknowledge support from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) by Award KUS-I1-003-13 and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP).en
dc.publisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)en
dc.titleInfluence of Chemical and Physical Properties of Activated Carbon Powders on Oxygen Reduction and Microbial Fuel Cell Performanceen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalEnvironmental Science & Technologyen
dc.contributor.institutionPennsylvania State University, State College, United Statesen
kaust.grant.numberKUS-I1-003-13en

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