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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Microbial fuel cell
- Tire crumb rubber