Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 2, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

Diffusion layer characteristics for increasing the performance of activated carbon air cathodes in microbial fuel cells

Author affiliations

Abstract

The characteristics of several different types of diffusion layers were systematically examined to improve the performance of activated carbon air cathodes used in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). A diffusion layer of carbon black and polytetrafluoroethylene (CB + PTFE) that was pressed onto a stainless steel mesh current collector achieved the highest cathode performance. This cathode also had a high oxygen mass transfer coefficient and high water pressure tolerance (>2 m), and it had the highest current densities in abiotic chronoamperometry tests compared to cathodes with other diffusion layers. In MFC tests, this cathode also produced maximum power densities (1610 ± 90 mW m−2) that were greater than those of cathodes with other diffusion layers, by 19% compared to Gore-Tex (1350 ± 20 mW m−2), 22% for a cloth wipe with PDMS (1320 ± 70 mW m−2), 45% with plain PTFE (1110 ± 20 mW m−2), and 19% higher than those of cathodes made with a Pt catalyst and a PTFE diffusion layer (1350 ± 50 mW m−2). The highly porous diffusion layer structure of the CB + PTFE had a relatively high oxygen mass transfer coefficient (1.07 × 10−3 cm s−1) which enhanced oxygen transport to the catalyst. The addition of CB enhanced cathode performance by increasing the conductivity of the diffusion layer. Oxygen mass transfer coefficient, water pressure tolerance, and the addition of conductive particles were therefore critical features for achieving higher performance AC air cathodes.

Graphical abstract: Diffusion layer characteristics for increasing the performance of activated carbon air cathodes in microbial fuel cells

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 21 Oct 2015, accepted on 14 Dec 2015 and first published on 15 Dec 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5EW00245A
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2016,2, 266-273
  •   Request permissions

    Diffusion layer characteristics for increasing the performance of activated carbon air cathodes in microbial fuel cells

    X. Zhang, W. He, W. Yang, J. Liu, Q. Wang, P. Liang, X. Huang and B. E. Logan, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2016, 2, 266
    DOI: 10.1039/C5EW00245A

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements