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Catalysts 2016, 6(10), 157; doi:10.3390/catal6100157

Natural Hematite as a Low-Cost and Earth-Abundant Cathode Material for Performance Improvement of Microbial Fuel Cells

The Key Laboratory of Orogenic Belts and Crustal Evolution, School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hong Liu
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 2 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Fuel Cells)
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Abstract

Developing cheap electrocatalysts for cathodic oxygen reduction in neutral medium is a key factor for practical applications of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Natural hematite was investigated as a low-cost cathode to improve the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). With hematite-coated cathode, the cell current density stabilized at 330.66 ± 3.1 mA·m−2 (with a 1000 Ω load) over 10 days under near-neutral conditions. The maximum power density of MFC with hematite cathode reached to 144.4 ± 7.5 mW·m−2, which was 2.2 times that of with graphite cathode (64.8 ± 5.2 mW·m−2). X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman, electrode potential analysis, and cyclic voltammetry (CV) revealed that hematite maintained the electrode activities due to the stable existence of Fe(II)/Fe(III) in mineral structure. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) results indicated that the cathodic electron transfer dynamics was significantly improved by using hematite to lower the cathodic overpotential. Therefore, this low-cost and earth-abundant natural mineral is promised as an effective cathode material with potential large-field applications of MFCs in future. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbial fuel cells (MFCs); natural hematite; low-cost cathode material; earth-abundant microbial fuel cells (MFCs); natural hematite; low-cost cathode material; earth-abundant
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ren, G.; Ding, H.; Li, Y.; Lu, A. Natural Hematite as a Low-Cost and Earth-Abundant Cathode Material for Performance Improvement of Microbial Fuel Cells. Catalysts 2016, 6, 157.

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