The use of nylon and glass fiber filter separators with different pore sizes in air-cathode single-chamber microbial fuel cells

Xiaoyuan Zhang, Shaoan Cheng, Xia Huang, Bruce Ernest Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Separators are needed in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) to reduce electrode spacing and preventing electrode short circuiting. The use of nylon and glass fiber filter separators in single-chamber, air-cathode MFCs was examined for their effect on performance. Larger pore nylon mesh were used that had regular mesh weaves with pores ranging from 10 to 160 μm, while smaller pore-size nylon filters (0.2-0.45 μm) and glass fiber filters (0.7-2.0 μm) had a more random structure. The pore size of both types of nylon filters had a direct and predictable effect on power production, with power increasing from 443 ± 27 to 650 ± 7 mW m-2 for pore sizes of 0.2 and 0.45 μm, and from 769 ± 65 to 941 ± 47 mW m-2 for 10 to 160 μm. In contrast, changes in pore sizes of the glass fiber filters resulted in a relatively narrow change in power (732 ± 48 to 779 ± 43 mW m-2) for pore sizes of 0.7 to 2 μm. An ideal separator should increase both power density and Coulombic efficiency (CE). However, CEs measured for the different separators were inversely correlated with power production, demonstrating that materials which reduced the oxygen diffusion into the reactor also hindered proton transport to the cathode, reducing power production through increased internal resistance. Our results highlight the need to develop separators that control oxygen transfer and facilitate proton transfer to the cathode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-664
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Volume3
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 12 2010

Fingerprint

Microbial fuel cells
Nylons
fuel cell
Separators
Glass fibers
Pore size
Cathodes
glass
filter
air
Air
electrode
Oxygen
oxygen
Electrodes
Proton transfer
Protons
spacing
fiberglass
fibre

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution

Cite this

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abstract = "Separators are needed in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) to reduce electrode spacing and preventing electrode short circuiting. The use of nylon and glass fiber filter separators in single-chamber, air-cathode MFCs was examined for their effect on performance. Larger pore nylon mesh were used that had regular mesh weaves with pores ranging from 10 to 160 μm, while smaller pore-size nylon filters (0.2-0.45 μm) and glass fiber filters (0.7-2.0 μm) had a more random structure. The pore size of both types of nylon filters had a direct and predictable effect on power production, with power increasing from 443 ± 27 to 650 ± 7 mW m-2 for pore sizes of 0.2 and 0.45 μm, and from 769 ± 65 to 941 ± 47 mW m-2 for 10 to 160 μm. In contrast, changes in pore sizes of the glass fiber filters resulted in a relatively narrow change in power (732 ± 48 to 779 ± 43 mW m-2) for pore sizes of 0.7 to 2 μm. An ideal separator should increase both power density and Coulombic efficiency (CE). However, CEs measured for the different separators were inversely correlated with power production, demonstrating that materials which reduced the oxygen diffusion into the reactor also hindered proton transport to the cathode, reducing power production through increased internal resistance. Our results highlight the need to develop separators that control oxygen transfer and facilitate proton transfer to the cathode.",
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The use of nylon and glass fiber filter separators with different pore sizes in air-cathode single-chamber microbial fuel cells. / Zhang, Xiaoyuan; Cheng, Shaoan; Huang, Xia; Logan, Bruce Ernest.

In: Energy and Environmental Science, Vol. 3, No. 5, 12.05.2010, p. 659-664.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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