© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Activated carbon (AC) is a low-cost and effective catalyst for oxygen reduction in air cathodes of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), but its performance must be maintained over time. AC was modified by three methods: 1)pyrolysis with iron ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (AC-Fe), 2)heat treatment (AC-heat), and 3)mixing with carbon black (AC-CB). The maximum power densities after one month with these AC cathodes were 35% higher with AC-Fe (1410±50mW m-2) and AC-heat (1400±20mW m-2), and 16% higher with AC-CB (1210±30mW m-2) than for plain AC (1040±20mW m-2), versus 1270±50mW m-2 for a Pt control. After 16months, the Pt cathodes produced only 250±10mW m-2. However, the AC-heat and AC-CB cathodes still produced 960-970mW m-2, whereas plain AC produced 860±60mW m-2. The performance of the AC cathodes was restored to >85% of the initial maximum power densities by cleaning with a weak acid solution. Based on cost considerations among the AC materials, AC-CB appears to be the best choice for long-term performance.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: The authors thank David Jones for laboratory support. This research was supported by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.