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Energies 2019, 12(6), 1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12061034

Comparative Evaluation of Coated and Non-Coated Carbon Electrodes in a Microbial Fuel Cell for Treatment of Municipal Sludge

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
2
Petroleum Microbiology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 10 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 16 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Fuel Cells and Their Applications)
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Abstract

This study aims to provide insight into the cost-effective catalyst on power generation in a microbial fuel cell (MFC) for treatment of municipal sludge. Power production from MFCs with carbon, Fe2O3, and Pt electrodes were compared. The MFC with no coating on carbon generated the least power density (6.72 mW·m−2) while the MFC with Fe2O3-coating on carbon anodes and carbon cathodes generated a 78% higher power output (30.18 mW·m−2). The third MFC with Fe2O3-coated carbon anodes and Pt on carbon as the cathode catalyst generated the highest power density (73.16 mW·m−2) at room temperature. Although the power generated with a conventional Pt catalyst was more than two-fold higher than Fe2O3, this study suggests that Fe2O3 can be investigated further as an efficient, low-cost, and alternative catalyst of Pt, which can be optimized for improving performance of MFCs. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV) results demonstrated reduced resistance of MFCs and better charge transfer between biofilm and electrodes containing coated anodes compared to non-coated anodes. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to analyze biofilm morphology and microbial community analysis was performed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, which revealed the presence of known anaerobic fermenters and methanogens that may play a key role in energy generation in the MFCs. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fe2O3; catalyst coating; microbial fuel cell (MFC); bioelectrochemistry; power production; electro-active biofilms; wastewater treatment; sustainable Fe2O3; catalyst coating; microbial fuel cell (MFC); bioelectrochemistry; power production; electro-active biofilms; wastewater treatment; sustainable
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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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Nandy, A.; Sharma, M.; Venkatesan, S.V.; Taylor, N.; Gieg, L.; Thangadurai, V. Comparative Evaluation of Coated and Non-Coated Carbon Electrodes in a Microbial Fuel Cell for Treatment of Municipal Sludge. Energies 2019, 12, 1034.

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