Investigating the effect of membrane layers on the cathode potential of air-cathode microbial fuel cells

Hend Omar Mohamed, Mohammad Ali Abdelkareem, Mira Park, Jinpyo Lee, Taewoo Kim, Gunendra Prasad Ojha, Bishweshwar Pant, Soo Jin Park, Hak Yong Kim, Nasser A.M. Barakat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study investigates the effect of cation exchange membrane (CEM) diffusion layers on cathode potential behavior in microbial fuel cells based on a cobalt electrodeposited anode that works in actual industrial wastewater. The structural properties of the modified anode materials were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), which showed a strong and clear biofilm layer on the anode surface. Additionally, the structural properties of the utilized cathode materials were evaluated using energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometry and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) techniques, which confirmed the transfer of cobalt ions through the CEM to the cathode surface. Finally, the performance of the modified anode material with various CEMs as diffusion layers was investigated in air-cathode microbial fuel cells. The results indicate that the metal electrodeposition strategy, which utilizes multiple CEM layers, enhanced the power and current generation by 498.2 and 455%, respectively. Moreover, the Columbic efficiency (CE) increased by 77%, 154.5%, and 232% for the MFC with one, two and three CEM layers, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24308-24318
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number38
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MISP) (Grant Number 2014R1A4A1008140 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC


  • Cathode potential
  • Cation exchange membrane
  • Cobalt electrodeposition treatment
  • Microbial fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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