Power generation using an activated carbon and metal mesh cathode in a microbial fuel cell

Type
Article

Authors
Zhang, Fang
Cheng, Shaoan
Pant, Deepak
Bogaert, Gilbert Van
Logan, Bruce E.

KAUST Grant Number
KUS-11-003-13

Date
2009-11

Abstract
An inexpensive activated carbon (AC) air cathode was developed as an alternative to a platinum-catalyzed electrode for oxygen reduction in a microbial fuel cell (MFC). AC was cold-pressed with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) binder to form the cathode around a Ni mesh current collector. This cathode construction avoided the need for carbon cloth or a metal catalyst, and produced a cathode with high activity for oxygen reduction at typical MFC current densities. Tests with the AC cathode produced a maximum power density of 1220 mW/m2 (normalized to cathode projected surface area; 36 W/m3 based on liquid volume) compared to 1060 mW/m2 obtained by Pt catalyzed carbon cloth cathode. The Coulombic efficiency ranged from 15% to 55%. These findings show that AC is a cost-effective material for achieving useful rates of oxygen reduction in air cathode MFCs. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Citation
Zhang F, Cheng S, Pant D, Bogaert GV, Logan BE (2009) Power generation using an activated carbon and metal mesh cathode in a microbial fuel cell. Electrochemistry Communications 11: 2177–2179. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.elecom.2009.09.024.

Acknowledgements
The authors thank D.W. Jones for help with the analytical measurements and M. Hazen for EDS analysis. This research was supported by Award KUS-11-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The research at VITO is supported by a Grant from Milieu en Energietechnologie InnovatiePlatform (Project M8463 - Sewage Plus).

Publisher
Elsevier BV

Journal
Electrochemistry Communications

DOI
10.1016/j.elecom.2009.09.024

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