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ChemSusChem. 2017 May 9;10(9):2053-2058. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201700099. Epub 2017 Apr 6.

Sustainable Hypersaline Microbial Fuel Cells: Inexpensive Recyclable Polymer Supports for Carbon Nanotube Conductive Paint Anodes.

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Departments of Chemistry and Material Science and Engineering, University of Utah, 315 S 1400 E Rm 2020, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA.
United States-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, 76090, Sindh, Pakistan.
Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering "G. Natta", Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133, Milano, Italy.


Microbial fuel cells are an emerging technology for wastewater treatment, but to be commercially viable and sustainable, the electrode materials must be inexpensive, recyclable, and reliable. In this study, recyclable polymeric supports were explored for the development of anode electrodes to be applied in single-chamber microbial fuel cells operated in field under hypersaline conditions. The support was covered with a carbon nanotube (CNT) based conductive paint, and biofilms were able to colonize the electrodes. The single-chamber microbial fuel cells with Pt-free cathodes delivered a reproducible power output after 15 days of operation to achieve 12±1 mW m-2 at a current density of 69±7 mA m-2 . The decrease of the performance in long-term experiments was mostly related to inorganic precipitates on the cathode electrode and did not affect the performance of the anode, as shown by experiments in which the cathode was replaced and the fuel cell performance was regenerated. The results of these studies show the feasibility of polymeric supports coated with CNT-based paint for microbial fuel cell applications.


carbon nanotubes; conductive paints; hypersalinity; microbial fuel cells; wastewater

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