Using cathode spacers to minimize reactor size in air cathode microbial fuel cells

Qiao Yang, Yujie Feng, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Scaling up microbial fuel cells (MFCs) will require more compact reactor designs. Spacers can be used to minimize the reactor size without adversely affecting performance. A single 1.5mm expanded plastic spacer (S1.5) produced a maximum power density (973±26mWm -2) that was similar to that of an MFC with the cathode exposed directly to air (no spacer). However, a very thin spacer (1.3mm) reduced power by 33%. Completely covering the air cathode with a solid plate did not eliminate power generation, indicating oxygen leakage into the reactor. The S1.5 spacer slightly increased columbic efficiencies (from 20% to 24%) as a result of reduced oxygen transfer into the system. Based on operating conditions (1000ς, CE=20%), it was estimated that 0.9Lh -1 of air would be needed for 1m 2 of cathode area suggesting active air flow may be needed for larger scale MFCs. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume110
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Award KUS-I1-003-13) and the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource & Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (2010DX08), National Creative Research Group of Natural Science Foundation of China (50821002), National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (51125033) and a scholarship to Q.Y. from the china scholarship council (CSC).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

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