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Double-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell with a Non-Platinum-Group Metal Fe-N-C Cathode Catalyst

Atanassov, Plamen; Artyushkova, Kateryna; Schuler, Andrew J.; Babanova, Sofia; Stariha, Sarah; Narvaez Villarrubia, Claudia W.; Serov, Alexey; Santoro, Carlo


Plamen Atanassov

Kateryna Artyushkova

Andrew J. Schuler

Sofia Babanova

Sarah Stariha

Claudia W. Narvaez Villarrubia

Alexey Serov

Carlo Santoro
Associate Professor in Bio-Energy


© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Non-Pt-group metal (non-PGM) materials based on transition metal-nitrogen-carbon (M-N-C) and derived from iron salt and aminoantipyrine (Fe-AAPyr) of mebendazole (Fe-MBZ) were studied for the first time as cathode catalysts in double-chamber microbial fuel cells (DCMFCs). The pH value of the cathode chamber was varied from 6 to 11 to elucidate the activity of those catalysts in acidic to basic conditions. The Fe-AAPyr- and Fe-MBZ-based cathodes were compared to a Pt-based cathode used as a baseline. Pt cathodes performed better at pH 6-7.5 and had similar performances at pH 9 and a substantially lower performance at pH 11 at which Fe-AAPyr and Fe-MBZ demonstrated their best electrocatalytic activity. The power density achieved with Pt constantly decreased from 94-99 μW cm-2 at pH 6 to 55-57 μW cm-2 at pH 11. In contrast, the power densities of DCMFs using Fe-AAPyr and Fe-MBZ were 61-68 μW cm-2 at pH 6, decreased to 51-58 μW cm-2 at pH 7.5, increased to 65-75 μW cm-2 at pH 9, and the highest power density was achieved at pH 11 (68-80 μW cm-2). Non-PGM cathode catalysts can be manufactured at the fraction of the cost of the Pt-based ones. The higher performance and lower cost indicates that non-PGM catalysts may be a viable materials choice in large-scale microbial fuel cells.


Atanassov, P., Artyushkova, K., Schuler, A. J., Babanova, S., Stariha, S., Narvaez Villarrubia, C. W., …Santoro, C. (2015). Double-Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell with a Non-Platinum-Group Metal Fe-N-C Cathode Catalyst. ChemSusChem, 8(5), 828-834.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 21, 2015
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Deposit Date May 1, 2018
Journal ChemSusChem
Print ISSN 1864-5631
Electronic ISSN 1864-564X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 5
Pages 828-834
Keywords non-PT group metal, iron salt, aminoantipyrine, cathode catalysts, double-chamber microbial fuel cells (DCMFCs)
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