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Electricity Generation from MFCs Using Differently Grown Anode-Attached Bacteria

Nam, Joo-Youn;Kim, Hyun-Woo;Lim, Kyeong-Ho;Shin, Hang-Sik

  • Received : 2009.12.01
  • Accepted : 2010.02.22
  • Published : 2010.06.30

Abstract

To understand the effects of acclimation schemes on the formation of anode biofilms, different electrical performances are characterized in this study, with the roles of suspended and attached bacteria in single-chamber microbial fuel cells (MFCs). The results show that the generation of current in single-chamber MFCs is significantly affected by the development of a biofilm matrix on the anode surface containing abundant immobilized microorganisms. The long-term operation with suspended microorganisms was demonstrated to form a dense biofilm matrix that was able to reduce the activation loss in MFCs. Also, a Pt-coated anode was not favorable for the initial or long-term bacterial attachment due to its high hydrophobicity (contact angle = $124^{\circ}$), which promotes easy detachment of the biofilm from the anode surface. Maximum power ($655.0\;mW/m^2$) was obtained at a current density of $3,358.8\;mA/m^2$ in the MFCs with longer acclimation periods. It was found that a dense biofilm was able to enhance the charge transfer rates due to the complex development of a biofilm matrix anchoring the electrochemically active microorganisms together on the anode surface. Among the major components of the extracellular polymeric substance, carbohydrates ($85.7\;mg/m^2_{anode}$) and proteins ($81.0\;mg/m^2_{anode}$) in the dense anode biofilm accounted for 17 and 19%, respectively, which are greater than those in the sparse anode biofilm.

Keywords

Anode biofilm;Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy;Extracellular polymeric substance;Power density;Single-chamber microbial fuel cell

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