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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 1;42(13):4971-6.

Activated carbon cloth as anode for sulfate removal in a microbial fuel cell.

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Chemical Sciences, Biological Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.


By employing the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans we demonstrate the possibility of electricity generation in a microbialfuel cell (MFC) with concomitant sulfate removal. This approach is based on an in situ anodic oxidative depletion of sulfide produced by D. desulfuricans. Three different electrode materials, graphite foil (GF), carbon fiber veil (CFV), and high surface area activated carbon cloth (ACC), were evaluated for sulfide electrochemical oxidation. In comparison to CFV and GF electrodes, ACC was a superior materialfor sulfide adsorption and oxidation and showed significant potential for harvesting energy from sulfate-rich solutions in the form of electricity. Sulfate (3.03 g dm(-3)) was removed from a bacterial suspension, which represented 99% removal. A maximum power density of 0.51 mW cm(-2) (normalized to geometric electrode area) was obtained with a one-chamber, air-breathing cathode and continuous flow MFC operated in batch mode at 22 degrees C.

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