Structure-property relationship of polymeric cathode binders in microbial fuel cells

Tomonori Saito, Timothy H. Roberts, Michael A. Hickner, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Microbial fuel cells (MFC) are a promising renewable energy production technology. Air-fed MFCs use a microbe-laden anode to liberate electrons from organic compounds, and a cathode where oxygen is reduced on the surface of an inorganic electrocatalyst, such as platinum. The electrochemical reactions to reduce oxygen to water at the cathode involve the impingement of electrons, protons, and oxygen at a catalytic site. Our previous study demonstrated that the presence of sulfonate groups in polymeric binders for the cathode impeded the oxygen reduction activity of the platinum catalyst. Here, we report the effect of hydrophilic character of non-ionic polymeric binders. Increasing the hydrophilicity by increasing length of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) in polystyrene-b-PEO diblock copolymer catalyst binders enhanced the electrochemical response and MFC performance due to more catalyst area being exposed to the ionic buffer. Our recent progress on understanding the electrochemical environment of the cathode catalyst will be reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts
StatePublished - 2010
Event239th ACS National Meeting and Exposition - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 21 2010Mar 25 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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