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Articolo RSE 14008344

Water formation at the cathode and sodium recovery using Microbial fuel cells(MFCs)

Articolo

Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, vol. 7, pp. Maggio2014.

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I. Gajda (UWE Bristol), J. Greenman (UWE Bristol), C. Melhuish (UWE Bristol), C. Santoro (UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT), B. Li (UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT), P. Cristiani (RSE SpA), I. Ieropoulos (UWE Bristol)

EFFICIENZA 2014 - Risparmio di energia elettrica nei settori: civile industria e servizi

Nel presente lavoro si riporta una documentazione analitica della formazione di alcalinità nella cameracatodica di una cella a combustibile microbica a doppia camera. Il fenomeno è stato associato ad un effettoelettro-osmotico.

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) utilise biodegradable carbon compounds in organic waste to directly generateelectric current. The aim of this work was to enhance MFC performance by using low cost and catalyst(platinum)-free cathode materials. The results showed that the range of Pt-free cathodes including activatedcarbon, plain carbon fibre veil with and without microporous layer (MPL) in two-chamber MFC isgenerating power with the simultaneous catholyte generation in the cathode chamber. This is the first time toreport a clear catholyte formation on the cathode half cell, which was directly related to MFC powerperformance.

The importance of this phenomenon may be attributed to the oxygen reduction reaction andelectroosmotic drag. The synthesised catholyte in situ on the open- to- air cathode appeared to be up to 9%concentration of sodium salts (9% concentration), which was recovered from the anolyte feedstockcontaining sludge and sodium acetate. An perhaps overlooked benefit of such cathode flooding contributedsgreatly to the overall wastewater treatment method, water recovery, bioremediation of salts and carboncapture.

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