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Article RSE 15004758

PTFE effect on the electrocatalysis of the oxygen reduction reaction in membraneless microbial fuel cells

Article

Bioelectrochemistry, vol. 106, pp. 240–247, Maggio-2015.

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E. Guerrini (Università degli studi di Milano), M. Grattieri (Politecnico di Milano), A. Faggianelli (Università degli studi di Milano), P. Cristiani (RSE SpA), S. Trasatti (Università degli studi di Milano)

CONVENERGIA 2015 - Small energy conversion plants

The influence of PTFE in the external Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) of open-air cathodes applied to membraneless microbial fuel cells (MFCs) is investigated in this work. Electrochemical measurements on cathodes with different PTFE contents (200%, 100%, 80% and 60%)were carried out to characterize cathodic oxygen reduction reaction, with the aim to study the reaction kinetics. It is demonstrated that ORR is not under diffusion-limiting conditions in the tested systems.

Influence of PTFE in the external Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) of open-air cathodes applied tomembranelessmicrobial fuel cells (MFCs) is investigated in thiswork.

Electrochemicalmeasurements on cathodeswith different PTFE contents (200%, 100%, 80% and 60%)were carried out to characterize cathodic oxygen reduction reaction, to study the reaction kinetics.

It is demonstrated that ORR is not under diffusion-limiting conditions in the tested systems. Based on cyclic voltammetry, an increase of the cathodic electrochemical active area took placewith the decrease of PTFE content.

This was not directly related to MFC productivity, but to the cathode wettability and the biocathode development. Low electrodic interface resistances (from 1 to 1.5 Ω at the start, to near 0.1 Ωat day 61) indicated a negligible ohmic drop.

A decrease of the Tafel slopes from120 to 80mV during productive periods of MFCs followed the biological activity in the whole MFC system. A high PTFE content in the cathode showed a detrimental effect on the MFC productivity, acting as an inhibitor of ORR electrocatalysis in the triple contact zone.

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