Mesoporous nitrogen-rich carbon materials as cathode catalysts in microbial fuel cells

Yongtae Ahn, Ivan Ivanov, Tharamani C. Nagaiah, Ankur Bordoloi, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The high cost of the catalyst material used for the oxygen reduction reaction in microbial fuel cell (MFC) cathodes is one of the factors limiting practical applications of this technology. Mesoporous nitrogen-rich carbon (MNC), prepared at different temperatures, was examined as an oxygen reduction catalyst, and compared in performance to Pt in MFCs and electrochemical cells. MNC calcined at 800 °C produced a maximum power density of 979 ± 131 mW m-2 in MFCs, which was 37% higher than that produced using MNC calined at 600 °C (715 ± 152 mW m-2), and only 14% lower than that obtained with Pt (1143 ± 54 mW m-2). The extent of COD removal and coulombic efficiencies were the same for all cathode materials. These results show that MNC could be used as an alternative to Pt in MFCs. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-215
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: The research reported here was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Award KUS-I1-003-13), and by the Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology Grant 2014.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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