Microbial fuel cells with highly active aerobic biocathodes

Microbial fuel cells with highly active aerobic biocathodes Microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which convert organic waste to electricity, could be used to make the wastewater infrastructure more energy efficient and sustainable. However, platinum and other non-platinum chemical catalysts used for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode of MFCs are unsustainable due to their high cost and long-term degradation. Aerobic biocathodes, which use microorganisms as the biocatalysts for cathode ORR, are a good alternative to chemical catalysts. In the current work, high-performing aerobic biocathodes with an onset potential for the ORR of +0.4 V vs. Ag/AgCl were enriched from activated sludge in electrochemical half-cells poised at −0.1 and + 0.2 V vs. Ag/AgCl. Gammaproteobacteria, distantly related to any known cultivated gammaproteobacterial lineage, were identified as dominant in these working electrode biofilms (23.3–44.3% of reads in 16S rRNA gene Ion Torrent libraries), and were in very low abundance in non-polarised control working electrode biofilms (0.5–0.7%). These Gammaproteobacteria were therefore most likely responsible for the high activity of biologically catalysed ORR. In MFC tests, a high-performing aerobic biocathode increased peak power 9-fold from 7 to 62 μW cm−2 in comparison to an unmodified carbon cathode, which was similar to peak power with a platinum-doped cathode at 70 μW cm−2. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Power Sources Elsevier

Microbial fuel cells with highly active aerobic biocathodes

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 The Authors
ISSN
0378-7753
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.05.055
Publisher site
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Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which convert organic waste to electricity, could be used to make the wastewater infrastructure more energy efficient and sustainable. However, platinum and other non-platinum chemical catalysts used for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode of MFCs are unsustainable due to their high cost and long-term degradation. Aerobic biocathodes, which use microorganisms as the biocatalysts for cathode ORR, are a good alternative to chemical catalysts. In the current work, high-performing aerobic biocathodes with an onset potential for the ORR of +0.4 V vs. Ag/AgCl were enriched from activated sludge in electrochemical half-cells poised at −0.1 and + 0.2 V vs. Ag/AgCl. Gammaproteobacteria, distantly related to any known cultivated gammaproteobacterial lineage, were identified as dominant in these working electrode biofilms (23.3–44.3% of reads in 16S rRNA gene Ion Torrent libraries), and were in very low abundance in non-polarised control working electrode biofilms (0.5–0.7%). These Gammaproteobacteria were therefore most likely responsible for the high activity of biologically catalysed ORR. In MFC tests, a high-performing aerobic biocathode increased peak power 9-fold from 7 to 62 μW cm−2 in comparison to an unmodified carbon cathode, which was similar to peak power with a platinum-doped cathode at 70 μW cm−2.

Journal

Journal of Power SourcesElsevier

Published: Aug 30, 2016

References

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