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Environmental Engineering Research 2018;23(4): 383-389. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2017.171
Improved structures of stainless steel current collector increase power generation of microbial fuel cells by decreasing cathodic charge transfer impedance
Taehui Nam1, Sunghoon Son1, Eojn Kim1, Huong Viet Hoa Tran1, Bonyoung Koo1, Hyungwon Chai1, Junhyuk Kim1, Soumya Pandit2, Anup Gurung3, Sang-Eun Oh3, Eun Jung Kim4, Yonghoon Choi5, and Sokhee P. Jung1 
1Department of Environment and Energy Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Republic of Korea
2The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, 8499000, Israel
3Department of Biological Environment, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Republic of Korea
4Department of Environmental Engineering, Mokpo National University, Muan-gun 58554, Republic of Korea
5Department of Electrical Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Republic of Korea
Corresponding Author: Sokhee P. Jung ,Tel: +82-62-530-1857 , Fax: +82-62-530-1859, Email: sokheejung@chonnam.ac.kr, sokheejung@gmail.com
Received: November 8, 2017;  Accepted: April 2, 2018.
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Microbial fuel cell (MFC) is an innovative environmental and energy system that converts organic wastewater into electrical energy. For practical implementation of MFC as a wastewater treatment process, a number of limitations need to be overcome. Improving cathodic performance is one of major challenges, and introduction of a current collector can be an easy and practical solution. In this study, three types of current collectors made of stainless steel (SS) were tested in a single-chamber cubic MFC. The three current collectors had different contact areas to the cathode (P 1.0 cm2; PC 4.3 cm2; PM 6.5 cm2) and increasing the contacting area enhanced the power and current generations and coulombic and energy recoveries by mainly decreasing cathodic charge transfer impedance. Application of the SS mesh to the cathode (PM) improved maximum power density, optimum current density and maximum current density by 8.8%, 3.6% and 6.7%, respectively, comparing with P of no SS mesh. The SS mesh decreased cathodic polarization resistance by up to 16%, and cathodic charge transfer impedance by up to 39%, possibly because the SS mesh enhanced electron transport and oxygen reduction reaction. However, application of the SS mesh had little effect on ohmic impedance.
Keywords: Cathode | Current collector | Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy | Microbial fuel cells | Power density | Stainless steel
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