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Interplay of Anode, Cathode, and Current in Microbial Fuel Cells: Implications for Wastewater Treatment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jan Dolfing

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Abstract

The anode and cathode potentials determine the overall performance of a microbial fuel cell (MFC). Thus far, research has focused on understanding the performance of individual electrodes, but there has been no investigation of how the anode or cathode potential changes as a function of the other. This study demonstrates for the first time that interplay exists between the anode and cathode electrodes, a phenomenon whereby reduction of voltage losses at one electrode increases voltage losses at the other. With our experimental data and results from the literature, a model was developed to quantify the interplay at theoretical and applied levels for wastewater treatment. The cause of the interplay was attributed to the reactant/product concentration gradient that exists between the bulk-catholyte-cathode and biofilmanode electrode surfaces. These findings advance our fundamental understanding of MFCs and provide new insight into how to improve performance for wastewater treatment and energy production.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Stoll ZA, Dolfing J, Ren ZJ, Xu P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Energy Technology

Year: 2016

Volume: 4

Issue: 5

Pages: 583-592

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 29/01/2016

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 2194-4288

ISSN (electronic): 2194-4296

Publisher: Wiley - VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ente.201500397

DOI: 10.1002/ente.201500397


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