Effect of iron nanoparticles on bioelectricity generation in a microbial fuel cell

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S.M. Sambavi

IX Standard, Maharishi International Residential School,  Sunguvar Chatiram – 602 106, Kanchipuram – District, Tamil Nadu State, India

Increasing human activities leads to the depletion of fossil fuels. It also leads to  more pollution. Microbial fuel cells that use bacteria to convert organic matter into electrical  current are being used for energy recovery purpose. This energy can be produced by using  different resistances in the circuit for specific period of time. In this experiment, a laboratory  scale, two chambered MFC was operated in batch mode. Confectionery wastewater was used as  substrate and mangrove sediment as innoculum by maintaining pH of 5.5 at 30 – 35˚C. The  substrate with innoculum was taken in an anode chamber. In cathode chamber potassium  permanganate solution was used as cathodic solution (electron acceptors). The salt bridge was  used for the electrolytic contact of the solutions in the two chambers. In each chamber one  electrode made of graphite plate was immersed. In the experiment conducted with the initial  substrate concentrations of 2000, 4000, 6000, 8000 and 10000 mg COD/L, maximum COD  removal efficiency of 76.5, 96.0, 85.0, 66.0 and 64.0%, respectively was recorded. The current  generated under the applied external resistance of R=100Ω for the said initial substrate  concentrations was 7.77, 8.10, 7.98, 2.65, 1.25 mA, respectively. The initial substrate  concentration of 4000 mg COD/L was found to be optimum since it registered maximum COD  removal efficiency and electricity generation. Iron nanoparticles were synthesized and used as a  catalyst to enhance the production of electricity. In the further experiments with the optimum  initial substrate concentration of 4000 mg COD/L with five different iron nanoparticles concentrations such as, 0.010, 0.050, 0.100, 0.150 and 0.200 g/L, maximum potential recorded  was 93.0, 850, 870, 567 and 140 mV, respectively. The optimum iron nanoparticles  concentration of 0.100 g/L, enhanced the potential by 6.9%.

Research Guide : P. Mullai, Pollution Control Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical  Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar – 608002, Tamil Nadu State, India