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Energies 2010, 3(4), 592-606; doi:10.3390/en3040592
Article

Assessment of the Effects of Flow Rate and Ionic Strength on the Performance of an Air-Cathode Microbial Fuel Cell Using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy

1
,
1,2
,
3
 and
4,*
1 School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA 2 Nuclear Sciences and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA 3 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA 4 BioSciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 January 2010 / Revised: 27 February 2010 / Accepted: 15 March 2010 / Published: 26 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fuel Cells)
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Abstract

Impedance changes of the anode, cathode and solution were examined for an air-cathode microbial fuel cell (MFC) under varying conditions. An MFC inoculated with a pre-enriched microbial culture resulted in a startup time of less than ten days. Over this period, the anode impedance decreased below the cathode impedance, suggesting a cathode-limited power output. Increasing the anode flow rate did not impact the anode impedance significantly, but it decreased the cathode impedance by 65%. Increasing the anode-medium ionic strength also decreased the cathode impedance. These impedance results provide insight into electron and proton transport mechanisms and can be used to improve MFC performance.
Keywords: biofuel cell; internal resistances; electrogenic; anode impedance; capacitance biofuel cell; internal resistances; electrogenic; anode impedance; capacitance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Aaron, D.; Tsouris, C.; Hamilton, C.Y.; Borole, A.P. Assessment of the Effects of Flow Rate and Ionic Strength on the Performance of an Air-Cathode Microbial Fuel Cell Using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. Energies 2010, 3, 592-606.

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