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Issue 1, 2012
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Carbon nanotube-coated macroporous sponge for microbial fuel cell electrodes

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Abstract

The materials that are used to make electrodes and their internal structures significantly affect microbial fuel cell (MFC) performance. In this study, we describe a carbon nanotube (CNT)–sponge composite prepared by coating a sponge with CNTs. Compared to the CNT-coated textile electrodes evaluated in prior studies, CNT–sponge electrodes had lower internal resistance, greater stability, more tunable and uniform macroporous structure (pores up to 1 mm in diameter), and improved mechanical properties. The CNT–sponge composite also provided a three-dimensional scaffold that was favorable for microbial colonization and catalytic decoration. Using a batch-fed H-shaped MFC outfitted with CNT–sponge electrodes, an areal power density of 1.24 W m−2 was achieved when treating domestic wastewater. The maximum volumetric power density of a continuously fed plate-shaped MFC was 182 W m−3. To our knowledge, these are the highest values obtained to date for MFCs fed domestic wastewater: 2.5 times the previously reported maximum areal power density and 12 times the previously reported maximum volumetric power density.

Graphical abstract: Carbon nanotube-coated macroporous sponge for microbial fuel cell electrodes

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Article information


Submitted
12 Jul 2011
Accepted
12 Aug 2011
First published
09 Sep 2011

Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 5265-5270
Article type
Paper

Carbon nanotube-coated macroporous sponge for microbial fuel cell electrodes

X. Xie, M. Ye, L. Hu, N. Liu, J. R. McDonough, W. Chen, H. N. Alshareef, C. S. Criddle and Y. Cui, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 5265
DOI: 10.1039/C1EE02122B

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