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Cobalt porphyrin-based material as methanol tolerant cathode in single chamber microbial fuel cells (SCMFCs)

Li, Baikun; Cheng, Yue; Lei, Yu; Br�ckner, Cristian; Liu, Bingchuan; Santoro, Carlo


Baikun Li

Yue Cheng

Yu Lei

Cristian Br�ckner

Bingchuan Liu

Carlo Santoro
Associate Professor in Bio-Energy


This study focused on the development of novel cathode material based on the pyrolysis of [meso-tetrakis(2-thienyl)porphyrinato]Co(II) (CoTTP) for use in single chamber microbial fuel cells (SCMFCs) to treat wastewater containing methanol. The cathodes produced at two loadings (0.5 and 1.0 mg cm-2) were examined in batch mode SCMFCs treating methanol of different concentrations (ranging from 0.005 to 0.04 M) over a 900 h operational period. Methanol was completely removed in SCMFCs, and the cycle duration was prolonged at high methanol concentrations, indicating methanol was used as fuel in SCMFCs. Methanol had more poisoning effects to the traditional platinum (Pt) cathodes than to the CoTTP cathodes. Specifically, power generations from SCMFCs with Pt cathodes gradually decreased over time, while the ones with CoTTP cathodes remained stable, even at the highest methanol concentration (0.04 M). Cathode linear sweep voltammetry (LSVs) indicated that the electrocatalytic activity of the Pt cathode was suppressed by methanol. Higher CoTTP loadings had similar open circuit potential (OCP) but higher electrocatalytic activity than lower loadings. This study demonstrated that methanol can be co-digested with wastewater and converted to power in MFCs, and a novel cathode CoTTP catalyst exhibits higher tolerance towards methanol compared with traditional Pt catalyst.


Li, B., Cheng, Y., Lei, Y., Brückner, C., Liu, B., & Santoro, C. (2014). Cobalt porphyrin-based material as methanol tolerant cathode in single chamber microbial fuel cells (SCMFCs). Journal of Power Sources, 257, 246-253.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 29, 2014
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2014
Publication Date Jul 1, 2014
Deposit Date May 1, 2018
Journal Journal of Power Sources
Print ISSN 0378-7753
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 257
Pages 246-253
Keywords microbial fuel cell, methanol, [meso-Tetrakis(2-thienyl)porphyrinato]Co(II) CoTTP, open circuit potential, linear sweep voltammetry
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