Using cathode spacers to minimize reactor size in air cathode microbial fuel cells

Qiao Yang, Yujie Feng, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Scaling up microbial fuel cells (MFCs) will require more compact reactor designs. Spacers can be used to minimize the reactor size without adversely affecting performance. A single 1.5mm expanded plastic spacer (S1.5) produced a maximum power density (973±26mWm -2) that was similar to that of an MFC with the cathode exposed directly to air (no spacer). However, a very thin spacer (1.3mm) reduced power by 33%. Completely covering the air cathode with a solid plate did not eliminate power generation, indicating oxygen leakage into the reactor. The S1.5 spacer slightly increased columbic efficiencies (from 20% to 24%) as a result of reduced oxygen transfer into the system. Based on operating conditions (1000ς, CE=20%), it was estimated that 0.9Lh -1 of air would be needed for 1m 2 of cathode area suggesting active air flow may be needed for larger scale MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource technology
Volume110
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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