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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 686891, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/686891
Research Article

Characterization of Carbon Nanotube/Graphene on Carbon Cloth as an Electrode for Air-Cathode Microbial Fuel Cells

1Department of Power Mechanical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, National United University, Miaoli 36003, Taiwan

Received 29 August 2014; Revised 26 November 2014; Accepted 24 December 2014

Academic Editor: Jin H. Kim

Copyright © 2015 Hung-Yin Tsai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which can generate low-pollution power through microbial decomposition, have become a potentially important technology with applications in environmental protection and energy recovery. The electrode materials used in MFCs are crucial determinants of their capacity to generate electricity. In this study, we investigate the performance of using carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene-modified carbon-cloth electrodes in a single-chamber MFC. We develop a process for fabricating carbon-based modified electrodes and Escherichia coli HB101 in an air-cathode MFC. The results show that the power density of MFCs can be improved by applying a coat of either graphene or CNT to a carbon-cloth electrode, and the graphene-modified electrode exhibits superior performance. In addition, the enhanced performance of anodic modification by CNT or graphene was greater than that of cathodic modification. The internal resistance decreased from 377 kΩ for normal electrodes to 5.6 kΩ for both electrodes modified by graphene with a cathodic catalyst. Using the modified electrodes in air-cathode MFCs can enhance the performance of power generation and reduce the associated costs.