Passive air breathing flat-plate microbial fuel cell operation

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Journal titleJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Pages468475; # of pages: 8
SubjectCathodes; Electrodes; Fuel cells; Ohmic contacts; Wastewater treatment; Batch operation; Biocatalysis; Continuous operation; Ethanol oxidation; Flat plate; Passive air; batch process; biocatalyst; biomass; chemical oxygen demand; chemical reaction kinetics; density; electricity; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; flat plate microbial fuel cell; membrane; microbial fuel cell; passive air breathing; peristaltic pump; polarization; proton exchange membrane
AbstractBACKGROUND: High cost and ohmic loss are two issues that microbial fuel cells (MFC) face before becoming economically viable. To address the high cost and ohmic loss issues, a flat-plate MFC (FPMFC) configuration applying a passive air-breathing cathode and a three-dimensional anode was introduced. Electricity generation was examined in the FPMFC through operation in the presence and absence of a proton exchange membrane (PEM), and in batch and continuous modes. RESULTS: Continuous operation of the FPMFC in the presence of a PEM favored power generation, mainly due to elimination of oxygen and biomass in the anode. Peak power density of 18 Wm-3 was produced in the presence of a PEM (ohmic resistance 40 Ω cm2), which was more than 5-fold higher than that with J-cloth. During batch operation, the power density increased and reached maximum in the third batch (18 W m-3 at 60 A m-3). Greater stability was observed during continuous operation resulting in a 2.5-fold increase in peak power density (44 W m-3 at 146 A m-3). CONCLUSION: The passive air-breathing FPMFC showed promising performance, offering a more economically viable configuration than the conventional FPMFCs using active (air, ferricyanide, and ferric iron) cathodes.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; Energy, Mining and Environment
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21275775
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Record identifierdbae542c-0085-42b5-878a-8f0d3e1f82ff
Record created2015-07-14
Record modified2016-05-09
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