The microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a novel and innovative technology that could allow direct harvesting of energy from wastewater through microbial activity with simultaneous oxidation of organic matter in wastewater. Among all MFC parts, electrode materials play a crucial role in electricity generation. A variety of electrode materials have been used, including plain graphite, carbon paper and carbon cloth. However, these electrode materials generated only limited electricity or power. Recently, many research studies have been conducted on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) because of their unique physical and chemical properties that include high conductivity, high surface area, corrosion resistance, and electrochemical stability. These properties make them extremely attractive for fabricating electrodes and catalyst supports. In this study, CNT-based electrodes had been developed to improve MFC performance in terms of electricity generation and treatment efficiency. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with carboxyl groups have been employed to fabricate electrodes for single-chamber air-cathode MFCs. The quality of the prepared MWCNTs-based electrodes was evaluated by morphology, electrical conductivity and specific surface area using a field emission scanning electron microscope, four-probe method and Brunauer–Emmerr–Teller method, respectively. The performance of MFCs equipped with MWCNT-based electrodes was evaluated by chemical analysis and electrical monitoring and calculation. In addition, the performance of these MFCs, using MWCNTs as electrodes, was compared against that using commercial carbon cloth.
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Research Article| April 01 2012
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes as electrode material for microbial fuel cells
N. Thepsuparungsikul, N. Phonthamachai, H. Y. Ng; Multi-walled carbon nanotubes as electrode material for microbial fuel cells. Water Sci Technol 1 April 2012; 65 (7): 1208–1214. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2012.956
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