Effect of nitrogen addition on the performance of microbial fuel cell anodes

Tomonori Saito, Maha Mehanna, Xin Wang, Roland D. Cusick, Yujie Feng, Michael A. Hickner, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Carbon cloth anodes were modified with 4(N,N-dimethylamino)benzene diazonium tetrafluoroborate to increase nitrogen-containing functional groups at the anode surface in order to test whether the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) could be improved by controllably modifying the anode surface chemistry. Anodes with the lowest extent of functionalization, based on a nitrogen/carbon ratio of 0.7 as measured by XPS, achieved the highest power density of 938mW/m2. This power density was 24% greater than an untreated anode, and similar to that obtained with an ammonia gas treatment previously shown to increase power. Increasing the nitrogen/carbon ratio to 3.8, however, decreased the power density to 707mW/m2. These results demonstrate that a small amount of nitrogen functionalization on the carbon cloth material is sufficient to enhance MFC performance, likely as a result of promoting bacterial adhesion to the surface without adversely affecting microbial viability or electron transfer to the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-398
Number of pages4
JournalBioresource technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of nitrogen addition on the performance of microbial fuel cell anodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this