Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are gaining increasing technological relevance for wastewater remediation and ancillary energy production. MFC separators are often fabricated with ion-exchange perfluorinated membranes, the most common of them being Nafion™. Here, we prepared composite separators based on polybenzimidazole (PBI), where the filler is made of SBA-15 mesostructured silica functionalized with sulphonic moieties. These membranes allowed strong increase of power density (up to one order of magnitude), operating life and wastewater treatment efficiency with respect to Nafion™. Moreover, our sustainability and cost analysis clearly showed that PBI is more convenient than Nafion™ for making these membranes. Therefore, we conclude that PBI-based membranes are very promising as separators for MFCs.

Novel composite polybenzimidazole-based proton exchange membranes as efficient and sustainable separators for microbial fuel cells

ANGIONI, SIMONE;MILLIA, LUCA;BRUNI, GIOVANNA;RAVELLI, DAVIDE;MUSTARELLI, PIERCARLO;QUARTARONE, ELIANA
2017-01-01

Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are gaining increasing technological relevance for wastewater remediation and ancillary energy production. MFC separators are often fabricated with ion-exchange perfluorinated membranes, the most common of them being Nafion™. Here, we prepared composite separators based on polybenzimidazole (PBI), where the filler is made of SBA-15 mesostructured silica functionalized with sulphonic moieties. These membranes allowed strong increase of power density (up to one order of magnitude), operating life and wastewater treatment efficiency with respect to Nafion™. Moreover, our sustainability and cost analysis clearly showed that PBI is more convenient than Nafion™ for making these membranes. Therefore, we conclude that PBI-based membranes are very promising as separators for MFCs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1179299
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