Efficient electricity production and simultaneously wastewater treatment via a high-performance photocatalytic fuel cell.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China.
Water Research (Impact Factor: 4.66). 07/2011; 45(13):3991-8. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2011.05.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A great quantity of wastewater were discharged into water body, causing serious environmental pollution. Meanwhile, the organic compounds in wastewater are important sources of energy. In this work, a high-performance short TiO(2) nanotube array (STNA) electrode was applied as photoanode material in a novel photocatalytic fuel cell (PFC) system for electricity production and simultaneously wastewater treatment. The results of current work demonstrate that various model compounds as well as real wastewater samples can be used as substrates for the PFC system. As a representative of model compounds, the acetic acid solution produces the highest cell performance with short-circuit current density 1.42 mA cm(-2), open-circuit voltage 1.48 V and maximum power density output 0.67 mW cm(-2). The STNA photoanode reveals obviously enhanced cell performance compared with TiO(2) nanoparticulate film electrode or other long nanotubes electrode. Moreover, the photoanode material, electrolyte concentration, pH of the initial solution, and cathode material were found to be important factors influencing the system performance of PFC. Therefore, the proposed fuel cell system provides a novel way of energy conversion and effective disposal mode of organics and serves well as a promising technology for wastewater treatment.

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