Influence of ceramic separator’s characteristics on microbial fuel cell performance

  • Anil N. Ghadge Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur -721302
  • Mypati Sreemannarayana Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur -721302
  • Narcis Duteanu University “Politehnica” of Timisoara, Industrial Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, 2 Victoria Sq., 300006 Timisoara, Romania
  • Makarand M. Ghangrekar Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur -721302

Abstract

This study aimed at evaluating the influence of clay properties on the performance of microbial fuel cell made using ceramic separators. Performance of two clayware microbial fuel cells (CMFCs) made from red soil (CMFC-1) typically rich in aluminum and silica and black soil
(CMFC-2) with calcium, iron and magnesium predominant was evaluated. These MFCs were operated under batch mode using synthetic wastewater. Maximum sustainable volumetric power density of 1.49 W m-3 and 1.12 W m-3 was generated in CMFC-1 and CMFC-2, respectively. During polarization, the maximum power densities normalized to anode surface area of 51.65 mW m-2 and 31.20 mW m-2 were obtained for CMFC-1 and CMFC-2, respectively. Exchange current densities at cathodes of CMFC-1 and CMFC-2 are 3.38 and 2.05 times more than that of respective anodes, clearly indicating that the cathodes supported much faster reaction than the anode. Results of laboratory analysis support the presence of more number of exchangeable cations in red soil, representing higher proton exchange capacity of CMFC-1 than CMFC-2. Higher power generation was observed for CMFC-1 with separator made of red soil. Hence, separators made of red soil were more suitable for fabrication of MFC to generate higher power.

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Published
05-12-2014
Section
Electrochemical Engineering