Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) represent a promising technology for simultaneous bioelectricity generation and wastewater treatment. Catalysts are significant portions of the cost of microbial fuel cell cathodes. Many materials have been tested as aqueous cathodes, but air-cathodes are needed to avoid energy demands for water aeration. The sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) rate at air cathode necessitates efficient electrocatalyst such as carbon supported platinum catalyst (Pt/C) which is very costly. Manganese oxide (MnO2) was a representative metal oxide which has been studied as a promising alternative electrocatalyst for ORR and has been tested in air-cathode MFCs. However the single MnO2 has poor electric conductivity and low stability. In the present work, the MnO2 catalyst has been modified by doping Pt nanoparticle. The goal of the work was to improve the performance of the MFC with minimum Pt loading. MnO2 and Pt nanoparticles were prepared by hydrothermal and sol gel methods, respectively. Wet impregnation method was used to synthesize Pt/MnO2 catalyst. The catalysts were further used as cathode catalysts in air-cathode cubic MFCs, in which anaerobic sludge was inoculated as biocatalysts and palm oil mill effluent (POME) was used as the substrate in the anode chamber. The asprepared Pt/MnO2 was characterized comprehensively through field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM), X-Ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and cyclic voltammetry (CV) where its surface morphology, crystallinity, oxidation state and electrochemical activity were examined, respectively. XPS revealed Mn (IV) oxidation state and Pt (0) nanoparticle metal, indicating the presence of MnO2 and Pt. Morphology of Pt/MnO2 observed from FESEM shows that the doping of Pt did not cause change in needle-like shape of MnO2 which provides large contacting surface area. The electrochemical active area of the Pt/MnO2 catalysts has been increased from 276 to 617 m2/g with the increase in Pt loading from 0.2 to 0.8 wt%. The CV results in O2 saturated neutral Na2SO4 solution showed that MnO2 and Pt/MnO2 catalysts could catalyze ORR with different catalytic activities. MFC with Pt/MnO2 (0.4 wt% Pt) as air cathode catalyst generates a maximum power density of 165 mW/m3, which is higher than that of MFC with MnO2 catalyst (95 mW/m3). The open circuit voltage (OCV) of the MFC operated with MnO2 cathode gradually decreased during 14 days of operation, whereas the MFC with Pt/MnO2 cathode remained almost constant throughout the operation suggesting the higher stability of the Pt/MnO2 catalyst. Therefore, Pt/MnO2 with 0.4 wt% Pt successfully demonstrated as an efficient and low cost electrocatalyst for ORR in air cathode MFC with higher electrochemical activity, stability and hence enhanced performance.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission to the environment is inevitable which is responsible for global warming. Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to fuel, such as methanol, methane etc. is a promising way to reduce greenhouse gas CO2 emission. In the present work, Bi2S3/CdS was synthesized as an effective visible light responsive photocatalyst for CO2 reduction into methanol. The Bi2S3/CdS photocatalyst was prepared by hydrothermal reaction. The catalyst was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument. The photocatalytic activity of the catalyst has been investigated for methanol production as a function of time. Gas chromatograph flame ionization detector (GC-FID) was employed to analyze the product. The yield of methanol was found to increase with higher CdS concentration in Bi2S3/CdS and the maximum yield was obtained for 45 wt% of Bi2S3/CdS under visible light irradiation was 20 μmole/g. The result establishes that Bi2S3/CdS is favorable catalyst to reduce CO2 to methanol.
A systematic study was conducted to explore the photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) into methanol on TiO2 loaded copper ferrite (CuFe2O4) photocatalyst under visible light irradiation. The phases and crystallite size of the photocatalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and it indicates CuFe2O4 as tetragonal phase incorporation with anatase TiO2 in CuFe2O4/TiO2 hetero-structure. The XRD results confirmed the formation of spinel type tetragonal CuFe2O4 phases along with predominantly anatase phase of TiO2 in the CuFe2O4/TiO2 hetero-structure. UV-Vis absorption spectrum suggested the formation of the hetero-junction with relatively lower band gap than that of TiO2. Photoluminescence (PL) technique was used to study the electron–hole (e−/h+) recombination process. PL spectra analysis confirmed the slow-down of the recombination of electron–hole (e−/h+) pairs in the CuFe2O4/TiO2 hetero-structure. The photocatalytic performance of CuFe2O4/TiO2 was evaluated based on the methanol yield with varying amount of TiO2 over CuFe2O4 (0.5:1, 1:1, and 2:1) and changing light intensity. The mechanism of the photocatalysis was proposed based on the fact that the predominant species of CO2 in aqueous phase were dissolved CO2 and HCO3- at pH ~5.9. It was evident that the CuFe2O4 could harvest the electrons under visible light irradiation, which could further be injected to the conduction band of TiO2 to increase the life time of the electron and facilitating the reactions of CO2 to methanol. The developed catalyst showed good recycle ability up to four cycles where the loss of activity was ~25%. Methanol was observed as the main product over CuFe2O4, but loading with TiO2 remarkably increased the methanol yield. Methanol yield over CuFe2O4/TiO2 was found to be about three times higher (651 μmol/gcat L) than that of CuFe2O4 photocatalyst. This occurs because the energy of the band excited electrons lies above the redox potentials of the reaction products CO2/CH3OH.