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Natural Wolframite Used as Cathode Photocatalyst for Improving the Performance of Microbial Fuel Cells

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Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Ecology and Resource Use of the Mongolian Plateau & Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Grassland Ecology, School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
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The Key Laboratory of Orogenic Belts and Crustal Evolution, School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University, Beijing Key Laboratory of Mineral Environmental Function, Beijing 100871, China
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School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2504; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8122504
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 4 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes for Direct Methanol and Microbial Fuel Cells)
Developing simple and cheap electrocatalysts or photocatalysts for cathodes to increase the oxygen reduction process is a key factor for better utilization of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Here, we report the investigation of natural wolframite employed as a low-cost cathode photocatalyst to improve the performance of MFCs. The semiconducting wolframite was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Raman spectroscopy. The band gap and photo respond activities were determined by UV-vis spectroscopy and linear sweep voltammetry (LSV), respectively. Compared with the normal graphite cathode, when MFCs were equipped with a wolframite-coated cathode, the maximum power density was increased from 41.47 mW·m−2 to 95.51 mW·m−2. Notably, the maximum power density further improved to 135.57 mW·m−2 under light irradiation, which was 2.4 times higher than with a graphite cathode. Our research demonstrated that natural wolframite, a low-cost and abundant natural semiconducting mineral, showed promise as an effective photocathode catalyst which has great potential applications related to utilizing natural minerals in MFCs and for environmental remediation by MFCs in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbial fuel cells (MFCs); natural wolframite; photocatalyst; wastewater treatment microbial fuel cells (MFCs); natural wolframite; photocatalyst; wastewater treatment
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Shi, J.; Lu, A.; Chu, H.; Wu, H.; Ding, H. Natural Wolframite Used as Cathode Photocatalyst for Improving the Performance of Microbial Fuel Cells. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 2504.

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