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Three-dimensional X-ray microcomputed tomography of carbonates and biofilm on operated cathode in single chamber microbial fuel cell

Cristianib, Pierangela; Fest-Santini, Stephanie; Marsili, Enrico; Atanassov, Plamen; Lorenzi, Massimo; Guilizzoni, Manfredo; Santini, Maurizio; Santoro, Carlo

Authors

Pierangela Cristianib

Stephanie Fest-Santini

Enrico Marsili

Plamen Atanassov

Massimo Lorenzi

Manfredo Guilizzoni

Maurizio Santini

Carlo Santoro Carlo.Santoro@uwe.ac.uk
Associate Professor in Bio-Energy



Abstract

© 2015 American Vacuum Society. Power output limitation is one of the main concerns that need to be addressed for full-scale applications of the microbial fuel cell technology. Fouling and biofilm growth on the cathode of single chamber microbial fuel cells (SCMFC) affects their performance in long-term operation with wastewater. In this study, the authors report the power output and cathode polarization curves of a membraneless SCMFC, fed with raw primary wastewater and sodium acetate for over 6 months. At the end of the experiment, the whole cathode surface is analyzed through X-ray microcomputed tomography (microCT), scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) to characterize the fouling layer and the biofilm. EDX shows the distribution of Ca, Na, K, P, S, and other elements on the two faces of the cathode. Na-carbonates and Ca-carbonates are pre-dominant on the air (outer) side and the water (inner) side, respectively. The three-dimensional reconstruction by X-ray microCT shows biofilm spots unevenly distributed above the Ca-carbonate layer on the inner (water) side of the cathode. These results indicate that carbonates layer, rather than biofilm, might lower the oxygen reduction reaction rate at the cathode duringlong-term SCMFC operation.

Citation

Cristianib, P., Fest-Santini, S., Marsili, E., Atanassov, P., Lorenzi, M., Guilizzoni, M., …Santoro, C. (2015). Three-dimensional X-ray microcomputed tomography of carbonates and biofilm on operated cathode in single chamber microbial fuel cell. Biointerphases, 10(3), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1116/1.4930239

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 26, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2018
Journal Biointerphases
Print ISSN 1934-8630
Electronic ISSN 1559-4106
Publisher AIP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 3
Pages 1-9
DOI https://doi.org/10.1116/1.4930239
Keywords power output, single chamber microbial fuel cells (SCMFC), wastewater, fouling, biofilm growth, X-ray microcomputer tomography (microCT)
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/805875
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1116/1.4930239