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High flux carbon fiber cloth membrane with thin catalyst coating integrates bio-electricity generation in wastewater treatment

Li, Yihua, Liu, Lifen, Yang, Fenglin
Journal of membrane science 2016 v.505 pp. 130-137
artificial membranes, bioelectricity, carbon fibers, catalysts, catalytic activity, cathodes, coatings, electrochemistry, energy, ethylene glycol, fouling, membrane bioreactors, microbial fuel cells, nanoparticles, porosity, wastewater treatment
In this study, a catalytic cathode membrane based on carbon fiber cloth was successfully prepared, and it integrated microbial fuel cell (MFC) with membrane bioreactor (MBR). Nanoparticle Pd-RGO-CoFe2O4 catalyst was synthesized in one-step, using ethylene glycol as reduction agent, and assisted by microwave reduction. It was coated with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder on carbon fiber cloth, with followed phase inversion. The formed composite cathode membrane with the blended and fixed Pd-RGO-CoFe2O4 catalyzed bio-electricity generation in coupled MFC/MBR system. Besides its high pure water membrane flux (59,817LMHbar⁻¹) and high conductivity (15.2×10⁻²Scm⁻¹), it also performed well in membrane fouling reduction and energy production (683mWm⁻³). By thinning the PVDF coating from 700μm to 300μm, the surface conductivity of the catalyst layer in cathode membrane increased approximately 1000 times (from 3.1×10⁻⁶Scm⁻¹ to 3.3×10⁻³Scm⁻¹), and it can improve the catalytic activity towards oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The catalyst in PVDF binder could greatly improve the porosity of membrane. By comparing the ratio of Pd:RGO in catalyst and bio-generation, it was proved that 1:1 ratio was better than 1:2 or 2:1.