Application of modified carbon anodes in microbial fuel cells

K. Scott*, G. A. Rimbu, K. P. Katuri, K. K. Prasad, I. M. Head

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


The effect of different carbon anodes was examined in a new design of single chambered microbial fuel cell (SCMFC). The new cell design used a low-cost hydrophilic membrane to replace costly proton exchange membranes and carbon felt and a range of carbon and modified carbon anodes were investigated. The fuel for the SCMFC was brewery wastewater which was diluted with domestic wastewater and the presented microflora acts as a source of electro-active bacteria. The membrane acts as a separator between the anode chamber and an air cathode and allows the transfer of ions based on the wastewater's natural conductivity. The air cathode was carbon black (Ketjen Black EC 300J) which was deposited (1 mg cm-2 concentration) directly onto the surface of the separator (one side of the membrane). Steady state polarization demonstrated maximum power densities of up to 30 mW m-2 and a steady state power density of 20 mW cm 2 at a current density of 110 mA m -2 was achieved. The best performing anodes were made from carbon modified with quinone/quinoid groups. With unmodified graphite felt (the control anode material) as anode, the maximal power density obtained was 9.5 mW m -2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Issue number5 B
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Brewery wastewater
  • Carbon cathode
  • Hydrophilic membrane
  • Modified carbon anodes
  • Single chambered microbial fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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