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Activated microporous-mesoporous carbon derived from chestnut shell as a sustainable anode material for high performance microbial fuel cells

Chen, Qin, Pu, Wenhong, Hou, Huijie, Hu, Jingping, Liu, Bingchuan, Li, Jianfeng, Cheng, Kai, Huang, Long, Yuan, Xiqing, Yang, Changzhu, Yang, Jiakuan
Bioresource technology 2018 v.249 pp. 567-573
anodes, biofilm, biomass, carbon, carbonization, chestnut shells, cost effectiveness, electricity, harvesting, microbial fuel cells, organic matter, porous media, wastewater
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are promising biotechnologies tool to harvest electricity by decomposing organic matter in waste water, and the anode material is a critical factor in determining the performance of MFCs. In this study, chestnut shell is proposed as a novel anode material with mesoporous and microporous structure prepared via a simple carbonization procedure followed by an activation process. The chemical activation process successfully modified the macroporous structure, created more mesoporous and microporous structure and decreased the O−content and pyridinic/pyrrolic N groups on the biomass anode, which were beneficial for improving charge transfer efficiency between the anode surface and microbial biofilm. The MFC with activated biomass anode achieved a maximum power density (23.6 W m⁻³) 2.3 times higher than carbon cloth anode (10.4 W m⁻³). This study introduces a promising and feasible strategy for the fabrication of high performance anodes for MFCs derived from cost-effective, sustainable natural materials.