Power generation by packed-bed air-cathode microbial fuel cells

Xiaoyuan Zhang, Juan Shi, Peng Liang, Jincheng Wei, Xia Huang, Chuanyi Zhang, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Catalysts and catalyst binders are significant portions of the cost of microbial fuel cell (MFC) cathodes. Many materials have been tested as aqueous cathodes, but air-cathodes are needed to avoid energy demands for water aeration. Packed-bed air-cathodes were constructed without expensive binders or diffusion layers using four inexpensive carbon-based materials. Cathodes made from activated carbon produced the largest maximum power density of 676±93mW/m2, followed by semi-coke (376±47mW/m2), graphite (122±14mW/m2) and carbon felt (60±43mW/m2). Increasing the mass of activated carbon and semi-coke from 5 to ≥15g significantly reduced power generation because of a reduction in oxygen transfer due to a thicker water layer in the cathode (~3 or ~6cm). These results indicate that a thin packed layer of activated carbon or semi-coke can be used to make inexpensive air-cathodes for MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource technology
Volume142
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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