Electro-osmotic-based catholyte production by Microbial Fuel Cells for carbon capture

Gajda, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C., Santoro, C., Li, B., Cristiani, P. and Ieropoulos, I. (2015) Electro-osmotic-based catholyte production by Microbial Fuel Cells for carbon capture. Water Research, 86. pp. 108-115. ISSN 0043-1354 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/26068

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2015.08.014


In Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs), the recovery of water can be achieved with the help of both active (electro-osmosis) and passive (osmosis) transport pathways of electrolyte through the semipermeable selective separator. The current-dependent transport results in cations and electroosmotically dragged water molecules reaching the cathode. The present study reports on the production of catholyte on the surface of the cathode, which was achieved as a direct result of electricity generation using MFCs fed with wastewater and employing Pt-free carbon based cathode electrodes. The highest pH levels (>13) of produced liquid were achieved by the MFCs with the activated carbon cathodes producing the highest power (309 μW). Caustic catholyte formation is presented in the context of beneficial water flooding and transport mechanisms, in an attempt to understand the effects of active and passive diffusion. Active transport was dominant under closed circuit conditions and shown a linear correlation with power performance, whereas osmotic (passive) transport was governing the passive flux of liquid in open circuit conditions. Caustic catholyte was mineralised to mixture of carbonate and bicarbonate (trona) salts thus demonstrating a carbon capture mechanism as an active result of MFC performance. Carbon capture would be valuable for establishing a carbon negative economy and environmental sustainability of the wastewater treatment process.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC), carbon veil cathodes, electro-osmotic drag, oxygen reduction reaction, carbon capture
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics
ID Code:26068
Deposited By: Dr I. Gajda
Deposited On:07 Aug 2015 08:05
Last Modified:08 May 2018 15:59

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