A new and simplified approach for making cathodes for microbial fuel cells (MFCs) was developed by using metal mesh current collectors and inexpensive polymer/carbon diffusion layers (DLs). We constructed the cathode around the metal mesh itself, thereby avoiding the need for the carbon cloth or other supporting material. A base layer of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) and carbon black was applied to the air-side of stainless steel mesh, and Pt on carbon black with Nafion binder was applied to the solution-side as catalyst for oxygen reduction. Multiple PDMS/carbon layers were applied in order to optimize the performance of the cathode. Two PDMS/carbon layers achieved the highest maximum power density of 1610 ± 56 mW/m2 (47.0 ± 1.6 W/m3), with coulombic efficiency of 15-67%. These findings demonstrate that cathodes can be constructed around metal mesh materials such as stainless steel, and that an inexpensive coating of PDMS can be used for diffusion layer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)