Biochar as a sustainable electrode material for electricity production in microbial fuel cells

Tyler Huggins, Heming Wang, Joshua Kearns, Peter Jenkins, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wood-based biochars were used as microbial fuel cell electrodes to significantly reduce cost and carbon footprint. The biochar was made using forestry residue (BCc) and compressed milling residue (BCp). Side-by-side comparison show the specific area of BCp (469.9m2g-1) and BCc (428.6cm2g-1) is lower than granular activated carbon (GAC) (1247.8m2g-1) but higher than graphite granule (GG) (0.44m2g-1). Both biochars showed power outputs of 532±18mWm-2 (BCp) and 457±20mWm-2 (BCc), comparable with GAC (674±10mWm-2) and GG (566±5mWm-2). However, lower material expenses made their power output cost 17-35US$W-1, 90% cheaper than GAC (402US$W-1) or GG (392US$W-1). Biochar from waste also reduced the energy and carbon footprint associated with electrode manufacturing and the disposal of which could have additional agronomic benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume157
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

Keywords

  • Biochar
  • Bioelectrochemical
  • Electricity
  • Electrode
  • Microbial fuel cell

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