A solar-powered microbial electrolysis cell with a platinum catalyst-free cathode to produce hydrogen.
ABSTRACT This paper reports successful hydrogen evolution using a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC)-powered microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) without a Pt catalyst on the cathode, indicating a solution for the inherent drawbacks of conventional MECs, such as the need for an external bias and catalyst. DSSCs fabricated by assembling a ruthenium dye-loaded TiO(2) film and platinized FTO glass with an I(-)/I(3)(-) redox couple were demonstrated as an alternative bias (V(oc) = 0.65 V). Pt-loaded (0.3 mg Pt/cm(2)) electrodes with a Pt/C nanopowder showed relatively faster hydrogen production than the Pt-free electrodes, particularly at lower voltages. However, once the applied photovoltage exceeded a certain level (0.7 V), platinum did not have any additional effect on hydrogen evolution in the solar-powered MECs: hydrogen conversion efficiency was almost comparable for either the plain (71.3-77.0%) or Pt-loaded carbon felt (79.3-82.0%) at >0.7 V. In particular, the carbon nanopowder-coated electrode without Pt showed significantly enhanced performance compared to the plain electrode, which indicates efficient electrohydrogenesis, even without Pt by enhancing the surface area. As the applied photovoltage was increased, anodic methanogenesis decreased gradually, resulting in increasing hydrogen yield.
- Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 01/2011; 15:1305-1313. · 5.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Microorganisms naturally form biofilms on solid surfaces for their mutual benefits including protection from environmental stresses caused by contaminants, nutritional depletion or imbalances. The biofilms are normally dangerous to human health due to their inherited robustness. On the other hand, a recent study suggested that electrochemically active biofilms (EABs) generated by electrically active microorganisms have properties that can be used to catalyze or control the electrochemical reactions in a range of fields, such as bioenergy production, bioremediation, chemical/biological synthesis, bio-corrosion mitigation and biosensor development. EABs have attracted considerable attraction in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs), such as microbial fuel cells and microbial electrolysis cells, where they act as living bioanode or biocathode catalysts. Recently, it was reported that EABs can be used to synthesize metal nanoparticles and metal nanocomposites. The EAB-mediated synthesis of metal and metal-semiconductor nanocomposites is expected to provide a new avenue for the greener synthesis of nanomaterials with high efficiency and speed than other synthetic methods. This review covers the general introduction of EABs, as well as the applications of EABs in BESs, and the production of bio-hydrogen, high value chemicals and bio-inspired nanomaterials.Biotechnology Advances 05/2013; · 9.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Electron-accepting (electrotrophic) biocathodes were produced by first enriching graphite fiber brush electrodes as the anodes in sediment-type microbial fuel cells (sMFCs) using two different marine sediments and then electrically inverting the anodes to function as cathodes in two-chamber bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). Electron consumption occurred at set potentials of -439 mV and -539 mV (versus the potential of a standard hydrogen electrode) but not at -339 mV in minimal media lacking organic sources of energy. Results at these different potentials were consistent with separate linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) scans that indicated enhanced activity (current consumption) below only ca. -400 mV. MFC bioanodes not originally acclimated at a set potential produced electron-accepting (electrotrophic) biocathodes, but bioanodes operated at a set potential (+11 mV) did not. CO(2) was removed from cathode headspace, indicating that the electrotrophic biocathodes were autotrophic. Hydrogen gas generation, followed by loss of hydrogen gas and methane production in one sample, suggested hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. There was abundant microbial growth in the biocathode chamber, as evidenced by an increase in turbidity and the presence of microorganisms on the cathode surface. Clone library analysis of 16S rRNA genes indicated prominent sequences most similar to those of Eubacterium limosum (Butyribacterium methylotrophicum), Desulfovibrio sp. A2, Rhodococcus opacus, and Gemmata obscuriglobus. Transfer of the suspension to sterile cathodes made of graphite plates, carbon rods, or carbon brushes in new BESs resulted in enhanced current after 4 days, demonstrating growth by these microbial communities on a variety of cathode substrates. This report provides a simple and effective method for enriching autotrophic electrotrophs by the use of sMFCs without the need for set potentials, followed by the use of potentials more negative than -400 mV.Applied and environmental microbiology 05/2012; 78(15):5212-9. · 3.69 Impact Factor