Poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) phase inversion coating as a diffusion layer to enhance the cathode performance in microbial fuel cells

Type
Article

Authors
Yang, Wulin
Zhang, Fang
He, Weihua
Liu, Jia
Hickner, Michael A.
Logan, Bruce E.

KAUST Grant Number
ER-2216
KUS-I1-003-13

Date
2014-12

Abstract
A low cost poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) phase inversion coating was developed as a cathode diffusion layer to enhance the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). A maximum power density of 1430 ± 90 mW m-2 was achieved at a PVDF-HFP loading of 4.4 mg cm-2 (4:1 polymer:carbon black), with activated carbon as the oxygen reduction cathode catalyst. This power density was 31% higher than that obtained with a more conventional platinum (Pt) catalyst on carbon cloth (Pt/C) cathode with a poly(tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE) diffusion layer (1090 ± 30 mW m-2). The improved performance was due in part to a larger oxygen mass transfer coefficient of 3 × 10-3 cm s-1 for the PVDF-HFP coated cathode, compared to 1.7 × 10-3 cm s -1 for the carbon cloth/PTFE-based cathode. The diffusion layer was resistant to electrolyte leakage up to water column heights of 41 ± 0.5 cm (4.4 mg cm-2 loading of 4:1 polymer:carbon black) to 70 ± 5 cm (8.8 mg cm-2 loading of 4:1 polymer:carbon black). This new type of PVDF-HFP/carbon black diffusion layer could reduce the cost of manufacturing cathodes for MFCs. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Citation
Yang W, Zhang F, He W, Liu J, Hickner MA, et al. (2014) Poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) phase inversion coating as a diffusion layer to enhance the cathode performance in microbial fuel cells. Journal of Power Sources 269: 379–384. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2014.06.119.

Acknowledgements
This research was supported by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) Project ER-2216, Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and a graduate scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to W. Y.

Publisher
Elsevier BV

Journal
Journal of Power Sources

DOI
10.1016/j.jpowsour.2014.06.119

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