Effect of chemically modified Vulcan XC-72R on the performance of air-breathing cathode in a single-chamber microbial fuel cell

Effect of chemically modified Vulcan XC-72R on the performance of air-breathing cathode in a single-chamber microbial fuel cell

Effect of chemically modified Vulcan XC-72R on the performance of air-breathing cathode in a single-chamber microbial fuel cell

Abstract

The catalytic activity of modified carbon powder (Vulcan XC-72R) for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in an air-breathing cathode of a microbial fuel cell (MFC) has been investigated. Chemical modification was carried out by using various chemicals, namely 5% nitric acid, 0.2N phosphoric acid, 0.2N potassium hydroxide and 10% hydrogen peroxide. Electrochemical study was performed for ORR of these modified carbon materials in the buffer solution pH range of 6-7.5 in the anodic compartment. Although, these treatments influenced the surface properties of the carbon material, as evident from the SEM-EDX analysis, treatment with H(2)PO(4), KOH, and H(2)O(2) did not show significant activity during the electrochemical test. The HNO(3) treated Vulcan demonstrated significant ORR activity and when used in the single-chamber MFC cathode, current densities (1115mA/m(2), at 5.6mV) greater than those for a Pt-supported un-treated carbon cathode were achieved. However, the power density for the latter was higher. Such chemically modified carbon material can be a cheaper alternative for expensive platinum catalyst used in MFC cathode construction.

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