Wire-drawing process with graphite lubricant as an industrializable approach to prepare graphite coated stainless-steel anode for bioelectrochemical systems

Environ Res. 2020 Dec;191:110093. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110093. Epub 2020 Aug 24.


Carbon coated stainless-steel (SS) electrode has been suggested to be a powerful composite electrode with high conductivity, excellent biocompatibility and good mechanical strength, which is promising for scaling up the bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). However, the already reported carbon coating methods were independent on the production of SS material. Additional steps and investment of equipment for carbon coating are costly, and the industrialization of these carbon coating processes remains challenging. In this study, we report an industrializable carbon coating approach that was embedded into the production line of the SS wire, which was realized through a wire-drawing process with graphite emulsion as the lubricant and carbon source. We found the slide of SS wire through the dies was essential for the graphite coating in terms of loading amount and stability. When the graphite coated SS wire was prepared as the anode and operated in a BESs, the current density reached 1.761 ± 0.231 mA cm-2, which was 20 times higher than that without graphite coating. Biomass analysis was then conducted, confirming the superior bioelectrochemical performance was attributed to the improvement of biocompatibility by the graphite coating layer. Furthermore, graphite coating by the wire-drawing process was systematically compared with the existing methods, which showed a comparable or even better bioelectrochemical performance but with extremely low cost (0.036 $·m-2) and seconds level of the time consumption. Overall, this study offers a cost-effective and industrializable approach to preparing graphite coated SS electrode, which may open up great opportunities to promote the development of BESs at large scale.

Keywords: Bioelectrochemical systems; Graphite coating; Industrialization; Stainless-steel anode; Wire-drawing process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bioelectric Energy Sources*
  • Electrodes
  • Graphite*
  • Lubricants
  • Stainless Steel


  • Lubricants
  • Stainless Steel
  • Graphite