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Iron-streptomycin derived catalyst for efficient oxygen reduction reaction in ceramic microbial fuel cells operating with urine

Salar Garcia, Maria Jose; Santoro, Carlo; Kodali, Mounika; Serov, Alexey; Artyushkova, Kateryna; Atanassov, Plamen; Ieropoulos, Ioannis


Maria Jose Salar Garcia

Carlo Santoro

Mounika Kodali

Alexey Serov

Kateryna Artyushkova

Plamen Atanassov


© 2019 The Authors In recent years, the microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology has drawn the attention of the scientific community due to its ability to produce clean energy and treat different types of waste at the same time. Often, expensive catalysts are required to facilitate the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and this hinders their large-scale commercialisation. In this work, a novel iron-based catalyst (Fe-STR) synthesised from iron salt and streptomycin as a nitrogen-rich organic precursor was chemically, morphologically and electrochemically studied. The kinetics of Fe-STR with and without being doped with carbon nanotubes (CNT) was initially screened through rotating disk electrode (RDE) analysis. Then, the catalysts were integrated into air-breathing cathodes and placed into ceramic-type MFCs continuously fed with human urine. The half-wave potential showed the following trend Fe-STR > Fe-STR-CNT ≫ AC, indicating better kinetics towards ORR in the case of Fe-STR. In terms of MFC performance, the results showed that cathodes containing Fe-based catalyst outperformed AC-based cathodes after 3 months of operation. The long-term test reported that Fe-STR-based cathodes allow MFCs to reach a stable power output of 104.5 ± 0.0 μW cm−2, 74% higher than AC-based cathodes (60.4 ± 3.9 μW cm−2). To the best of the Authors' knowledge, this power performance is the highest recorded from ceramic-type MFCs fed with human urine.


Salar Garcia, M. J., Santoro, C., Kodali, M., Serov, A., Artyushkova, K., Atanassov, P., & Ieropoulos, I. (2019). Iron-streptomycin derived catalyst for efficient oxygen reduction reaction in ceramic microbial fuel cells operating with urine. Journal of Power Sources, 425, 50-59.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 14, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2019
Publication Date Jun 15, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 17, 2019
Journal Journal of Power Sources
Print ISSN 0378-7753
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 425
Pages 50-59
Public URL
Publisher URL


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