Enhanced activated carbon cathode performance for microbial fuel cell by blending carbon black

Xiaoyuan Zhang, Xue Xia, Ivan Ivanov, Xia Huang, Bruce Ernest Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

108 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Activated carbon (AC) is a useful and environmentally sustainable catalyst for oxygen reduction in air-cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs), but there is great interest in improving its performance and longevity. To enhance the performance of AC cathodes, carbon black (CB) was added into AC at CB:AC ratios of 0, 2, 5, 10, and 15 wt % to increase electrical conductivity and facilitate electron transfer. AC cathodes were then evaluated in both MFCs and electrochemical cells and compared to reactors with cathodes made with Pt. Maximum power densities of MFCs were increased by 9-16% with CB compared to the plain AC in the first week. The optimal CB:AC ratio was 10% based on both MFC polarization tests and three electrode electrochemical tests. The maximum power density of the 10% CB cathode was initially 1560 ± 40 mW/m2 and decreased by only 7% after 5 months of operation compared to a 61% decrease for the control (Pt catalyst, 570 ± 30 mW/m2 after 5 months). The catalytic activities of Pt and AC (plain or with 10% CB) were further examined in rotating disk electrode (RDE) tests that minimized mass transfer limitations. The RDE tests showed that the limiting current of the AC with 10% CB was improved by up to 21% primarily due to a decrease in charge transfer resistance (25%). These results show that blending CB in AC is a simple and effective strategy to enhance AC cathode performance in MFCs and that further improvement in performance could be obtained by reducing mass transfer limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2075-2081
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 4 2014

Fingerprint

Soot
Microbial fuel cells
fuel cell
black carbon
Activated carbon
activated carbon
Cathodes
electrode
Rotating disks
mass transfer
Mass transfer
catalyst
Electrochemical electrodes
Electrodes
Catalysts
Electrochemical cells
electrical conductivity
Charge transfer
Catalyst activity
polarization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Zhang, Xiaoyuan ; Xia, Xue ; Ivanov, Ivan ; Huang, Xia ; Logan, Bruce Ernest. / Enhanced activated carbon cathode performance for microbial fuel cell by blending carbon black. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2014 ; Vol. 48, No. 3. pp. 2075-2081.
@article{63930719374a420db1a334cbd6614426,
title = "Enhanced activated carbon cathode performance for microbial fuel cell by blending carbon black",
abstract = "Activated carbon (AC) is a useful and environmentally sustainable catalyst for oxygen reduction in air-cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs), but there is great interest in improving its performance and longevity. To enhance the performance of AC cathodes, carbon black (CB) was added into AC at CB:AC ratios of 0, 2, 5, 10, and 15 wt {\%} to increase electrical conductivity and facilitate electron transfer. AC cathodes were then evaluated in both MFCs and electrochemical cells and compared to reactors with cathodes made with Pt. Maximum power densities of MFCs were increased by 9-16{\%} with CB compared to the plain AC in the first week. The optimal CB:AC ratio was 10{\%} based on both MFC polarization tests and three electrode electrochemical tests. The maximum power density of the 10{\%} CB cathode was initially 1560 ± 40 mW/m2 and decreased by only 7{\%} after 5 months of operation compared to a 61{\%} decrease for the control (Pt catalyst, 570 ± 30 mW/m2 after 5 months). The catalytic activities of Pt and AC (plain or with 10{\%} CB) were further examined in rotating disk electrode (RDE) tests that minimized mass transfer limitations. The RDE tests showed that the limiting current of the AC with 10{\%} CB was improved by up to 21{\%} primarily due to a decrease in charge transfer resistance (25{\%}). These results show that blending CB in AC is a simple and effective strategy to enhance AC cathode performance in MFCs and that further improvement in performance could be obtained by reducing mass transfer limitations.",
author = "Xiaoyuan Zhang and Xue Xia and Ivan Ivanov and Xia Huang and Logan, {Bruce Ernest}",
year = "2014",
month = "2",
day = "4",
doi = "10.1021/es405029y",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "48",
pages = "2075--2081",
journal = "Environmental Science & Technology",
issn = "0013-936X",
publisher = "American Chemical Society",
number = "3",

}

Enhanced activated carbon cathode performance for microbial fuel cell by blending carbon black. / Zhang, Xiaoyuan; Xia, Xue; Ivanov, Ivan; Huang, Xia; Logan, Bruce Ernest.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 48, No. 3, 04.02.2014, p. 2075-2081.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Enhanced activated carbon cathode performance for microbial fuel cell by blending carbon black

AU - Zhang, Xiaoyuan

AU - Xia, Xue

AU - Ivanov, Ivan

AU - Huang, Xia

AU - Logan, Bruce Ernest

PY - 2014/2/4

Y1 - 2014/2/4

N2 - Activated carbon (AC) is a useful and environmentally sustainable catalyst for oxygen reduction in air-cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs), but there is great interest in improving its performance and longevity. To enhance the performance of AC cathodes, carbon black (CB) was added into AC at CB:AC ratios of 0, 2, 5, 10, and 15 wt % to increase electrical conductivity and facilitate electron transfer. AC cathodes were then evaluated in both MFCs and electrochemical cells and compared to reactors with cathodes made with Pt. Maximum power densities of MFCs were increased by 9-16% with CB compared to the plain AC in the first week. The optimal CB:AC ratio was 10% based on both MFC polarization tests and three electrode electrochemical tests. The maximum power density of the 10% CB cathode was initially 1560 ± 40 mW/m2 and decreased by only 7% after 5 months of operation compared to a 61% decrease for the control (Pt catalyst, 570 ± 30 mW/m2 after 5 months). The catalytic activities of Pt and AC (plain or with 10% CB) were further examined in rotating disk electrode (RDE) tests that minimized mass transfer limitations. The RDE tests showed that the limiting current of the AC with 10% CB was improved by up to 21% primarily due to a decrease in charge transfer resistance (25%). These results show that blending CB in AC is a simple and effective strategy to enhance AC cathode performance in MFCs and that further improvement in performance could be obtained by reducing mass transfer limitations.

AB - Activated carbon (AC) is a useful and environmentally sustainable catalyst for oxygen reduction in air-cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs), but there is great interest in improving its performance and longevity. To enhance the performance of AC cathodes, carbon black (CB) was added into AC at CB:AC ratios of 0, 2, 5, 10, and 15 wt % to increase electrical conductivity and facilitate electron transfer. AC cathodes were then evaluated in both MFCs and electrochemical cells and compared to reactors with cathodes made with Pt. Maximum power densities of MFCs were increased by 9-16% with CB compared to the plain AC in the first week. The optimal CB:AC ratio was 10% based on both MFC polarization tests and three electrode electrochemical tests. The maximum power density of the 10% CB cathode was initially 1560 ± 40 mW/m2 and decreased by only 7% after 5 months of operation compared to a 61% decrease for the control (Pt catalyst, 570 ± 30 mW/m2 after 5 months). The catalytic activities of Pt and AC (plain or with 10% CB) were further examined in rotating disk electrode (RDE) tests that minimized mass transfer limitations. The RDE tests showed that the limiting current of the AC with 10% CB was improved by up to 21% primarily due to a decrease in charge transfer resistance (25%). These results show that blending CB in AC is a simple and effective strategy to enhance AC cathode performance in MFCs and that further improvement in performance could be obtained by reducing mass transfer limitations.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84893590082&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84893590082&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1021/es405029y

DO - 10.1021/es405029y

M3 - Article

VL - 48

SP - 2075

EP - 2081

JO - Environmental Science & Technology

JF - Environmental Science & Technology

SN - 0013-936X

IS - 3

ER -