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A Single-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell without an Air Cathode
Department of Life Science, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung, Chiayi, 621, Taiwan
Department of Biotechnology, National Kaohsiung Normal University, No. 62, Shenjhong Rd., Yanchao Township, Kaohsiung County, 82444, Taiwan
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung, Chiayi 621, Taiwan
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 November 2011; in revised form: 19 January 2012 / Accepted: 14 March 2012 / Published: 22 March 2012
Abstract: Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) represent a novel technology for wastewater treatment with electricity production. Electricity generation with simultaneous nitrate reduction in a single-chamber MFC without air cathode was studied, using glucose (1 mM) as the carbon source and nitrate (1 mM) as the final electron acceptor employed by Bacillus subtilis under anaerobic conditions. Increasing current as a function of decreased nitrate concentration and an increase in biomass were observed with a maximum current of 0.4 mA obtained at an external resistance (Rext) of 1 KΩ without a platinum catalyst of air cathode. A decreased current with complete nitrate reduction, with further recovery of the current immediately after nitrate addition, indicated the dependence of B. subtilis on nitrate as an electron acceptor to efficiently produce electricity. A power density of 0.0019 mW/cm2 was achieved at an Rext of 220 Ω. Cyclic voltammograms (CV) showed direct electron transfer with the involvement of mediators in the MFC. The low coulombic efficiency (CE) of 11% was mainly attributed to glucose fermentation. These results demonstrated that electricity generation is possible from wastewater containing nitrate, and this represents an alternative technology for the cost-effective and environmentally benign treatment of wastewater.
Keywords: microbial fuel cells; Bacillus subtilis; cyclic voltammograms; nitrate reduction; air cathode; glucose; fermentation; microbial growth; aerobic
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Nimje, V.R.; Chen, C.-C.; Chen, H.-R.; Chen, C.-Y.; Tseng, M.-J.; Cheng, K.-C.; Shih, R.-C.; Chang, Y.-F. A Single-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell without an Air Cathode. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 3933-3948.
Nimje VR, Chen C-C, Chen H-R, Chen C-Y, Tseng M-J, Cheng K-C, Shih R-C, Chang Y-F. A Single-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell without an Air Cathode. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2012; 13(3):3933-3948.
Nimje, Vanita Roshan; Chen, Chien-Cheng; Chen, Hau-Ren; Chen, Chien-Yen; Tseng, Min-Jen; Cheng, Kai-Chien; Shih, Ruey-Chyuan; Chang, Young-Fo. 2012. "A Single-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell without an Air Cathode." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 13, no. 3: 3933-3948.