Microbial fuel cell (MFC) is an upcoming technology that allows oxidizing organic matter to generate current by microorganism's activity. To render MFCs a cost-effective and energy sustainable technology, low-cost materials can be employed as support for bacteria growth and proliferation. With this purpose in mind, ceramic Berl saddles were opportunely covered by a thin and conductive carbon layer, thus obtaining an innovative low-cost anode material able to efficiently recover the electrons released by bacteria metabolisms. The conductive layer was obtained by using a-D-glucose deposition process within the following steps: impregnation, caramelization, and pyrolysis. In this way, a homogenous coating of polycrystalline graphitic carbon was successfully obtained and characterized by several methods. The carbon-coated Berl saddles were then tested as anode material in a two-compartment MFC prototype, in batch mode and using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as active microorganisms. The MFC performances were evaluated using electrochemical techniques. The carbon-coated Berl saddles showed a maximum power density of 130 mW m2 (29.6 mA L1) which is about 2e3 times higher than the values reported in literature by using commercial anode materials. In particular, we have carefully estimated the production and process costs of these carbon-coated Berl saddles used in our MFC prototype, obtaining a value comparable to the commercial carbon felt employed in the same MFC apparatus. All these results confirm that our innovative carbon-coated Berl saddles not only satisfy the electrical requirements, but also favor an optimal bacteria adhesion and can be produced as a low-cost anode for scaling-up MFC.
|Titolo:||Streamlining of commercial Berl saddles: A new material to improve the performance of microbial fuel cells|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.energy.2014.05.012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|