Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vol.171, No.8, 2082-2092, 2013
Construction and Operation of Microbial Fuel Cell with Chlorella vulgaris Biocathode for Electricity Generation
In this study, a modified microbial fuel cell (MFC) with a tubular photobioreactor (PHB) configuration as a cathode compartment was constructed by introducing Chlorella vulgaris to the cathode chamber used to generate oxygen in situ. Two types of cathode materials and light/dark cycles were used to test the effect on MFC with algae biocathode. Results showed that the use of algae is an effective approach because these organisms can act as efficient in situ oxygenators, thereby facilitating the cathodic reaction. Dissolved oxygen and voltage output displayed a clear light positive response and were drastically enhanced compared with the abiotic cathode. In particular, carbon paper-coated Pt used as a cathode electrode increased voltage output at a higher extent than carbon felt used as an electrode. The maximum power density of 24.4 mW/m(2) was obtained from the MFC with algae biocathode which utilized the carbon paper-coated Pt as the cathode electrode under intermittent illumination. This density was 2.8 times higher than that of the abiotic cathode. Continuous illumination shortened the algal lifetime. These results demonstrated that intermittent illumination and cathode material-coated catalyst are beneficial to a more efficient and prolonged operation of MFC with C. vulgaris biocathode.