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Application of modified carbon anodes in microbial fuel cells

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Keith Scott, Dr Gimi Rimbu, Krishna Katuri, Professor Ian Head


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The effect of different carbon anodes was examined in a new design of single chambered microbial fuel cell (SCMFC). The new cell design used a low-cost hydrophilic membrane to replace costly proton exchange membranes and carbon felt and a range of carbon and modified carbon anodes were investigated. The fuel for the SCMFC was brewery wastewater which was diluted with domestic wastewater and the presented microflora acts as a source of electro-active bacteria. The membrane acts as a separator between the anode chamber and an air cathode and allows the transfer of ions based on the wastewater's natural conductivity. The air cathode was carbon black (Ketjen Black EC 300J) which was deposited (1 mg cm-2 concentration) directly onto the surface of the separator (one side of the membrane). Steady state polarization demonstrated maximum power densities of up to 30 mW m-2 and a steady state power density of 20 mW cm 2 at a current density of 110 mA m -2 was achieved. The best performing anodes were made from carbon modified with quinone/quinoid groups. With unmodified graphite felt (the control anode material) as anode, the maximal power density obtained was 9.5 mW m -2. © 2007 Institution of Chemical Engineers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scott K, Rimbu GA, Katuri KP, Prasad KK, Head IM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Process Safety and Environmental Protection

Year: 2007

Volume: 85

Issue: 5

Pages: 481-488

ISSN (print): 0957-5820

ISSN (electronic): 1744-3598

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1205/psep07018


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