Towards disposable microbial fuel cells: Natural rubber glove membranes

Winfield, J., Chambers, L., Rossiter, J., Greenman, J. and Ieropoulos, I. (2014) Towards disposable microbial fuel cells: Natural rubber glove membranes. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 39 (36). pp. 21803-21810. ISSN 0360-3199 Available from:

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Natural rubber from laboratory gloves (GNR) was compared to cation exchange membrane (CEM) in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). GNR-MFCs immediately generated power indicating the availability of proton transfer pathways in the material, which is contrary to previous research using condom natural rubber membranes. Under bi-directional resistance sweeps, CEM-MFCs produced higher power but were less stable than GNR. Stability proved the valuable trait over 96 h periods under fixed resistances where GNR-MFCs produced 26% higher power than CEM-MFCs and reduced COD by 88% compared to 73% achieved with CEM. Anolyte conductivity increased more significantly for CEM but at the same time pH levels were more marked, a factor that may have contributed to instability. Under composting conditions, GNR samples degraded 100% after 285 days whilst GNR-MFC membranes were still intact and operational after 493 days. This innovative research could lead the way in producing inexpensive, disposable MFCs with controllable degradation.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:microbial fuel cell, natural rubber, cation exchange membrane, biodegradation, power overshoot
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology
Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences
ID Code:24986
Deposited By: J. Winfield
Deposited On:11 Feb 2015 08:59
Last Modified:26 May 2016 10:43

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