279563 Evaluation of Cathode Materials for Benthic Microbial Fuel Cells

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 1:30 PM
331 (Convention Center )
Lewis Hsu1, Adriane Wotawa-Bergen2, Jeffery Kagan2, Richard Bell2, Ken Richter2, Bart Chadwick2 and Y. Meriah Arias-Thode2, (1)Energy and Environmental Sciences Division, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, CA, (2)SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific

Microbial fuel cells are devices which are able to directly produce electrical energy by the consumption of biodegradable compounds. Major research thrusts in this area focus largely on simultaneous energy production and clean water production from wastewater streams rich in organic material. A different approach to utilizing this technology is the application of benthic microbial fuel cells. These devices seek to harvest energy from the organic material contained in the ocean environment to power sensors or communication devices.

                One of the major challenges to implementing these devices is the use of appropriate materials for system construction. The study presented here looks at different possible materials for use at the cathode of the fuel cell to perform oxygen reduction. The performance of several carbon-based electrodes (graphite, carbon cloth, and graphite fiber brushes) will be shown. Determinations of optimal anode:cathode size ratios and system loadings were also determined. Influence (beneficial or detrimental) of biological growth on these materials will also be discussed.

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See more of this Session: Fundamentals of Environmental Process and Reaction Engineering I
See more of this Group/Topical: Environmental Division