We present a systematic screening of carbon-based anode materials for microbial fuel cells with Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. Under anoxic conditions nanoporous activated carbon cloth is a superior anode material in terms of current density normalized to the projected anode area and anode volume (24.0±0.3 μA cm(-2) and 482±7 μA cm(-3) at -0.2 vs. SCE, respectively). The good performance can be attributed to the high specific surface area of the material, which is available for mediated electron transfer through self-secreted flavins. Under aerated conditions no influence of the specific surface area is observed, which we attribute to a shift from primary indirect electron transfer by mediators to direct electron transfer via adherent cells. Furthermore, we show that an aerated initial growth phase enhances the current density under subsequent anoxic conditions fivefold when compared to a similar experiment that was conducted under permanently anoxic conditions.
Keywords: Activated carbon cloth; Aeration; Anode materials; Microbial fuel cells; Shewanella oneidensis.
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