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Catalysts 2016, 6(9), 127; doi:10.3390/catal6090127

Carbon-Based Air-Breathing Cathodes for Microbial Fuel Cells

1
Bristol BioEnergy Centre, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of the West of England, Bristol, BS16 1QY, UK
2
Center for Micro-Engineered Materials (CMEM), Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
3
School of Life Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, BS16 1QY, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Frederic Jaouen and Keith Hohn
Received: 21 June 2016 / Revised: 10 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 24 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Materials for Green Catalysis)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5995 KB, uploaded 24 August 2016]   |  

Abstract

A comparison between different carbon-based gas-diffusion air-breathing cathodes for microbial fuel cells (MFCs) is presented in this work. A micro-porous layer (MPL) based on carbon black (CB) and an activated carbon (AC) layer were used as catalysts and applied on different supporting materials, including carbon cloth (CC), carbon felt (CF), and stainless steel (SS) forming cathode electrodes for MFCs treating urine. Rotating ring disk electrode (RRDE) analyses were done on CB and AC to: (i) understand the kinetics of the carbonaceous catalysts; (ii) evaluate the hydrogen peroxide production; and (iii) estimate the electron transfer. CB and AC were then used to fabricate electrodes. Half-cell electrochemical analysis, as well as MFCs continuous power performance, have been monitored. Generally, the current generated was higher from the MFCs with AC electrodes compared to the MPL electrodes, showing an increase between 34% and 61% in power with the AC layer comparing to the MPL. When the MPL was used, the supporting material showed a slight effect in the power performance, being that the CF is more powerful than the CC and the SS. These differences also agree with the electrochemical analysis performed. However, the different supporting materials showed a bigger effect in the power density when the AC layer was used, being the SS the most efficient, with a power generation of 65.6 mW·m−2, followed by the CC (54 mW·m−2) and the CF (44 mW·m−2). View Full-Text
Keywords: air-breathing cathode; carbon electrodes; microbial fuel cells; oxygen reduction reaction air-breathing cathode; carbon electrodes; microbial fuel cells; oxygen reduction reaction
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Merino-Jimenez, I.; Santoro, C.; Rojas-Carbonell, S.; Greenman, J.; Ieropoulos, I.; Atanassov, P. Carbon-Based Air-Breathing Cathodes for Microbial Fuel Cells. Catalysts 2016, 6, 127.

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