Sequential anode-cathode configuration improves cathodic oxygen reduction and effluent quality of microbial fuel cells

Freguia, Stefano, Rabaey, Korneel, Yuan, Zhiguo and Keller, Jurg (2008) Sequential anode-cathode configuration improves cathodic oxygen reduction and effluent quality of microbial fuel cells. Water Research, 42 6-7: 1387-1396. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2007.10.007


Author Freguia, Stefano
Rabaey, Korneel
Yuan, Zhiguo
Keller, Jurg
Title Sequential anode-cathode configuration improves cathodic oxygen reduction and effluent quality of microbial fuel cells
Journal name Water Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0043-1354
Publication date 2008-03-01
Year available 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2007.10.007
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 42
Issue 6-7
Start page 1387
End page 1396
Total pages 10
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford
Publisher Pergamon-Elsevier
Language eng
Subject C1
9699 Other Environment
090409 Wastewater Treatment Processes
Abstract The reduction of oxygen at the cathode and the diffusion of protons from the anode to the cathode are currently perceived as two major bottlenecks of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). To address these issues, we have designed an MFC configuration in which the effluent of an acetate-fed anode was used as a feed for an aerated, biocatalysed cathode. The development of a cathodic biofilm achieved a four-fold increase of the current output compared with the non-catalysed graphite cathode, while the pH variation in the cathode compartment was reduced due to the additional transfer of protons via the liquid stream. The sequential anode-cathode configuration also provided for chemical oxygen demand (COD) polishing at the cathode by heterotrophic bacteria, with overall acetate removal consistently greater than 99%. The anode achieved an organic substrate removal of up to 2.45 kg COD/m(3) of anode liquid volume per day, at Coulombic efficiencies of 65-95%. Electron balances at the cathode revealed that the main cathodic process was oxygen reduction to water with no significant Coulombic losses. The maximal power output during polarization was 110 W/m(3) cathode liquid volume. The process could be operated in a stable way during more than 9 months of continuous operation. Excessive organic loading to the cathode should be avoided as it can reduce the long-term performance through the growth of heterotrophic bacteria. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Formatted abstract
The reduction of oxygen at the cathode and the diffusion of protons from the anode to the cathode are currently perceived as two major bottlenecks of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). To address these issues, we have designed an MFC configuration in which the effluent of an acetate-fed anode was used as a feed for an aerated, biocatalysed cathode. The development of a cathodic biofilm achieved a four-fold increase of the current output compared with the non-catalysed graphite cathode, while the pH variation in the cathode compartment was reduced due to the additional transfer of protons via the liquid stream. The sequential anode–cathode configuration also provided for chemical oxygen demand (COD) polishing at the cathode by heterotrophic bacteria, with overall acetate removal consistently greater than 99%. The anode achieved an organic substrate removal of up to 2.45 kg COD/m3 of anode liquid volume per day, at Coulombic efficiencies of 65–95%. Electron balances at the cathode revealed that the main cathodic process was oxygen reduction to water with no significant Coulombic losses. The maximal power output during polarization was 110 W/m3 cathode liquid volume. The process could be operated in a stable way during more than 9 months of continuous operation. Excessive organic loading to the cathode should be avoided as it can reduce the long-term performance through the growth of heterotrophic bacteria.
Keyword Biocatalysis
Biofuel cell
Cathodic biofilm
Oxygen reduction
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 11 October 2007.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Advanced Water Management Centre Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 16 Apr 2009, 18:17:31 EST by Suzanne Read on behalf of Advanced Water Management Centre