Variation of power generation at different buffer types and conductivities in single chamber microbial fuel cells

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Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are operated with solutions containing various chemical species required for the growth of electrochemically active microorganisms including nutrients and vitamins, substrates, and chemical buffers. Many different buffers are used in laboratory media, but the effects of these buffers and their inherent electrolyte conductivities have not been examined relative to current generation in MFCs. We investigated the effect of several common buffers (phosphate, MES, HEPES, and PIPES) on power production in single chambered MFCs compared to a non-buffered control. At the same concentrations the buffers produced different solution conductivities which resulted in different ohmic resistances and power densities. Increasing the solution conductivities to the same values using NaCl produced comparable power densities for all buffers. Very large increases in conductivity resulted in a rapid voltage drop at high current densities. Our results suggest that solution conductivity at a specific pH for each buffer is more important in MFC studies than the buffer itself given relatively constant pH conditions. Based on our analysis of internal resistance and a set neutral pH, phosphate and PIPES are the most useful buffers of those examined here because pH was maintained close to the pK(a) of the buffer, maximizing the ability of the buffer to contribute to increase current generation at high power densities. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Publisher
ELSEVIER ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
Issue Date
2010-01
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

WASTE-WATER TREATMENT; ELECTRICITY-GENERATION; CATHODE; PERFORMANCE; TEMPERATURE; GRAPHITE; ANODES; ENERGY

Citation

BIOSENSORS BIOELECTRONICS, v.25, no.5, pp.1155 - 1159

ISSN
0956-5663
DOI
10.1016/j.bios.2009.10.005
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/97614
Appears in Collection
CE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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