Recycled tire crumb rubber anodes for sustainable power production in microbial fuel cells

Heming Wang, Matthew Davidson, Yi Zuo, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


One of the greatest challenges facing microbial fuel cells (MFCs) in large scale applications is the high cost of electrode material. We demonstrate here that recycled tire crumb rubber coated with graphite paint can be used instead of fine carbon materials as the MFC anode. The tire particles showed satisfactory conductivity after 2-4 layers of coating. The specific surface area of the coated rubber was over an order of magnitude greater than similar sized graphite granules. Power production in single chamber tire-anode air-cathode MFCs reached a maximum power density of 421 mW m-2, with a coulombic efficiency (CE) of 25.1%. The control graphite granule MFC achieved higher power density (528 mW m-2) but lower CE (15.6%). The light weight of tire particle could reduce clogging and maintenance cost but posts challenges in conductive connection. The use of recycled material as the MFC anodes brings a new perspective to MFC design and application and carries significant economic and environmental benefit potentials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5863-5866
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Anode
  • Electricity
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Tire crumb rubber


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