Immobilization of a metal-nitrogen-carbon catalyst on activated carbon with enhanced cathode performance in microbial fuel cells

Wulin Yang, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

Applications of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are limited in part by low power densities mainly due to cathode performance. Successful immobilization of an Fe-N-C co-catalyst on activated carbon (Fe-N-C/Aimproved the oxygen reduction reaction to nearly a four-electron transfer, compared to a two-electron transfer achieved using AC. With acetate as the fuel, the maximum power density was 4.7±0.2Wm-2, which is higher than any previous report for an air-cathode MFC. With domestic wastewater as a fuel, MFCs with the Fe-N-C/AC cathode produced up to 0.8±0.03 Wm-2, which was twice that obtained with a Pt-catalyzed cathode. The use of this Fe-N-C/AC catalyst can therefore substantially increase power production, and enable broader applications of MFCs for renewable electricity generation using waste materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2226-2232
Number of pages7
JournalChemSusChem
Volume9
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)

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