Cast and 3D printed ion exchange membranes for monolithic microbial fuel cell fabrication

Philamorea, H., Rossiter, J., Walters, P., Winfield, J. and Ieropoulos, I. (2015) Cast and 3D printed ion exchange membranes for monolithic microbial fuel cell fabrication. Journal of Power Sources, 289. pp. 91-99. ISSN 0378-7753 Available from:

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We present novel solutions to a key challenge in microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology; greater power density through increased relative surface area of the ion exchange membrane that separates the anode and cathode electrodes. The first use of a 3D printed polymer and a cast latex membrane are compared to a conventionally used cation exchange membrane. These new techniques significantly expand the geometric versatility available to ion exchange membranes in MFCs, which may be instrumental in answering challenges in the design of MFCs including miniaturisation, cost and ease of fabrication. Under electrical load conditions selected for optimal power transfer, peak power production (mean 10 batch feeds) was 11.39 μW (CEM), 10.51 μW (latex) and 0.92 μW (Tangoplus). Change in conductivity and pH of anolyte were correlated with MFC power production. Digital and environmental scanning electron microscopy show structural changes to and biological precipitation on membrane materials following long term use in an MFC. The cost of the novel membranes was lower than the conventional CEM. The efficacy of two novel membranes for ion exchange indicates that further characterisation of these materials and their fabrication techniques, shows great potential to significantly increase the range and type of MFCs that can be produced.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:microbial fuel cell, 3D printing, ion-exchange membrane, oxygen-diffusion cathodes
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education > School of Art and Design
Faculty of Environment and Technology
ID Code:25854
Deposited By: J. Montgomery
Deposited On:11 Aug 2015 07:50
Last Modified:24 Feb 2017 06:16

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