CHOUINARD, C.; SANHUEZA, F.; PADILLA, N.; VALLE, H.; MANGALARAJA, R.; URRUTIA, H.:
Ingenium 2020, 20-23.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have the potential to transform both domestic and industrial wastewater treatment sectors, posing an alternative to existing methods of wastewater treatment. MFC technology generates energy from wastewater by exploiting the properties of electroactive microorganisms to generate a current while simultaneously decomposing organic matter. MFCs are not yet practical for wide-scale implementation due to high material costs and system inefficiencies. The objective of this project was to synthesize an improved anode material optimized for MFC systems from nickel foam (NF) and graphene. NF/graphene materials offer a low-cost alternative to traditional precious metal electrodes and electrical properties more robust than carbon papers and foams. The biocompatibility of the synthesized anode with bacterial communities was evaluated, and biofilm growth on NF and graphene electrodes was measured both for pure bacterial strains and for environmental samples. Although additional experiments are required to draw definitive conclusions, preliminary results demonstrate antibacterial activity in the NF and graphene materials, which could hinder MFC performance (i.e. current generation).