Main content area

Modification of carbon felt anodes using double-oxidant HNO₃/H₂O₂ for application in microbial fuel cells

Zhao, Yu, Ma, Yan, Li, Ting, Dong, Zhishuai, Wang, Yuxue
RSC advances 2018 v.8 no.4 pp. 2059-2064
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, adsorption, bacteria, bacterial growth, bioanodes, biocompatibility, carbon, dielectric spectroscopy, electrical conductivity, electrochemistry, electron transfer, hydrogen peroxide, microbial fuel cells, moieties, nitric acid, scanning electron microscopy, surface area
Carbon felt is widely used as an anode material in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) because of its high specific surface area, low cost, good electrical conductivity, and biocompatibility. In this paper, carbon felt samples were thermally treated with a mixed solution of concentrated HNO₃ and 30% H₂O₂ with different volume ratios of 1 : 3 (MFC-1), 1 : 1 (MFC-2), and 3 : 1 (MFC-3). The electrochemical performance of the resulting MFCs were investigated by cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, chronoamperometry and polarization curve measurement. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy were conducted to characterize the functional groups and the morphology of the carbon felts. After modification, the number of oxygen-containing functional groups in MFC-1, MFC-2, and MFC-3 increased compared with MFC-4 (bare anode MFC), the start-up time of the obtained MFCs was markedly shortened, and the charge transfer resistance of the bioanode was decreased. In MFC-2, the maximum power density was 758.2 mW m⁻², which was 51.1% higher than MFC-4. Increases of oxygen-containing functional groups on the modified anodes favored the adsorption and growth of bacteria and acceleration of electron transport between the electrode and bacteria. Thus, the electrochemical characteristics of MFCs employing these anodes were improved.