Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a promising technology capable of directly converting the abundant biomass on the planet into electricity. Prior studies have adopted a variety of nanostructured materials with high surface area to volume ratio (SAV), yet the current and power density of these nanostructured materials do not deliver a significant leap over conventional MFCs. This study presents a novel approach to implement a miniaturized MFC with a high SAV of 4000 m-1 using three different CNT-based electrode materials: Vertically Aligned CNT (VACNT), Randomly Aligned CNT (RACNT), and Spin-Spray Layer-by-Layer (SSLbL) CNT. These CNT-based electrodes show unique biofilm morphology and thickness. The study of performance parameters of miniaturized MFCs with these CNT-electrodes are conducted with respect to a control bare gold electrode. The results show that CNT-based materials attract more exoelectrogens, Geobacter sp., than bare gold, yielding thicker biofilm formation. Among CNT-based electrodes, low sheet resistance electrodes result in thick biofilm generation and high current/power density. The miniaturized MFC having an SSLbL CNT anode exhibits a high volumetric power density of 3320 W m-3. This research may help lay the foundation for future research involving the optimization of MFCS with 2D and 3D nanostructured electrodes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering