Twelve single chambered, air-cathode Tubular Microbial Fuel Cells (TMFCs) have been filled up with fruit and vegetable residues. The anodes were realized by means of a carbon fiber brush, while the cathodes were realized through a graphite-based porous ceramic disk with Nafion membranes (117 Dupont). The performances in terms of polarization curves and power production were assessed according to different operating conditions: percentage of solid substrate water dilution, adoption of freshwater and a 35ï¿½mg/L NaCl water solution and, finally, the effect of an initial potentiostatic growth. All TMFCs operated at low pH pH=3.0ï¿½0.5), as no pH amendment was carried out. Despite the harsh environmental conditions, our TMFCs showed a Power Density (PD) ranging from 20 to 55ï¿½mW/m2ï¿½kgwasteand a maximum CD of 20ï¿½mA/m2ï¿½kgwaste, referred to the cathodic surface. COD removal after a 28-day period was about 45%. The remarkably low pH values as well as the fouling of Nafion membrane very likely limited TMFC performances. However, a scale-up estimation of our reactors provides interesting values in terms of power production, compared to actual anaerobic digestion plants. These results encourage further studies to characterize the graphite-based porous ceramic cathodes and to optimize the global TMFC performances, as they may provide a valid and sustainable alternative to anaerobic digestion technologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Building and Construction
- Mechanical Engineering
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Jannelli, N., Anna Nastro, R., Cigolotti, V., Minutillo, M., & Falcucci, G. (2017). Low pH, high salinity: Too much for microbial fuel cells? Applied Energy, 192, 543 - 550. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.07.079