Ivanov, Ivan; Ahn, YongTae; Poirson, Thibault; Hickner, Michael A.; Logan, Bruce(International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Elsevier BV, 2017-06-02)[Article]
Nafion is commonly used as a catalyst binder in many types of electrochemical cells, but less expensive binders are needed for the cathodes in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) which are operated in neutral pH buffers, and reverse electrodialysis stacks (RED),which use thermolytic solutions such as ammonium bicarbonate. Six different binders were examined based on differences in ion exchange properties (anionic: Nafion, BPSH20, BPSH40, S-Radel; cationic: Q-Radel; and neutral: Radel, BAEH) and hydrophobicity based on water uptake (0%, Radel; 17–56% for the other binders). BPSH40 had similar performance to Nafion based on steady-state polarization single electrode experiments in a neutral pH phosphate buffer, and slightly better performance in ammonium bicarbonate. Three different Mo-based catalysts were examined as alternatives to Pt, with MoB showing the best performance under steady-state polarization. In MECs, MoB/BPSH40 performed similarly to Pt with Nafion or Radel binders. The main distinguishing feature of the BPSH40 was that it is very hydrophilic, and thus it had a greater water content (56%) than the other binders (0–44%). These results suggest the binders for hydrogen evolution in MECs should be designed to have a high water content without sacrificing ionic or electronic conductivity in the electrode.
Yilmazel, Yasemin D.; Zhu, Xiuping; Kim, Kyoung-Yeol; Holmes, Dawn E.; Logan, Bruce E.(Bioelectrochemistry, Elsevier BV, 2017-10-02)[Article]
Few microorganisms have been examined for current generation under thermophilic (40–65 °C) or hyperthermophilic temperatures (≥ 80 °C) in microbial electrochemical systems. Two iron-reducing archaea from the family Archaeoglobaceae, Ferroglobus placidus and Geoglobus ahangari, showed electro-active behavior leading to current generation at hyperthermophilic temperatures in single-chamber microbial electrolysis cells (MECs). A current density (j) of 0.68 ± 0.11 A/m2 was attained in F. placidus MECs at 85 °C, and 0.57 ± 0.10 A/m2 in G. ahangari MECs at 80 °C, with an applied voltage of 0.7 V. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) showed that both strains produced a sigmoidal catalytic wave, with a mid-point potential of − 0.39 V (vs. Ag/AgCl) for F. placidus and − 0.37 V for G. ahangari. The comparison of CVs using spent medium and turnover CVs, coupled with the detection of peaks at the same potentials in both turnover and non-turnover conditions, suggested that mediators were not used for electron transfer and that both archaea produced current through direct contact with the electrode. These two archaeal species, and other hyperthermophilic exoelectrogens, have the potential to broaden the applications of microbial electrochemical technologies for producing biofuels and other bioelectrochemical products under extreme environmental conditions.
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