Carbon brush electrodes have been used to provide high surface areas for bacterial growth and high power densities in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). A high-temperature ammonia gas treatment has been used to enhance power generation, but less energy-intensive methods are needed for treating these electrodes in practice. Three different treatment methods are examined here for enhancing power generation of carbon fiber brushes: acid soaking (CF-A), heating (CF-H), and a combination of both processes (CF-AH). The combined heat and acid treatment improve power production to 1370 mW m-2, which is 34% larger than the untreated control (CF-C, 1020 mW m-2). This power density is 25% higher than using only acid treatment (1100 mW m-2) and 7% higher than that using only heat treatment (1280 mW m-2). XPS analysis of the treated and untreated anode materials indicates that power increases are related to higher N1s/C1s ratios and a lower C-O composition. These findings demonstrate efficient and simple methods for improving power generation using graphite fiber brushes, and provide insight into reasons for improving performance that may help to further increase power through other graphite fiber modifications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering