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.
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