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Electricity generation by a plant microbial fuel cell with an integrated oxygen reducing biocathode

Koen Wetser, Emilius Sudirjo, Cees J.N. Buisman and David P.B.T.B. Strik

Applied Energy, 2015, vol. 137, issue C, 151-157

Abstract: In this study we show that a chemical ferricyanide cathode can be replaced by a biological oxygen reducing cathode in a plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC) with a new record power output. A biocathode was successfully integrated in a PMFC and operated for 151days. Plants growth continued and the power density increased reaching a maximum power output of 679mW/m2 plant growth area (PGA) in a 10min polarization. The two week record average power densities was 240mW/m2 PGA. The new records were reached due to the high redox potential of oxygen reduction which was effectively catalyzed by microorganisms in the cathode. This resulted in a 127mV higher cathode potential of the PMFC with a biocathode than a PMFC with a ferricyanide cathode. We also found that substrate availability in the anode likely limits the current generation. This work is crucial for PMFC application as it shows that PMFC can be a completely sustainable biotechnology with an improved power output.

Keywords: Plant microbial fuel cell; Oxygen reducing biocathode; Spartina anglica; Bio-electricity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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