Bifunctional Ag/Fe/N/C Catalysts for Enhancing Oxygen Reduction via Cathodic Biofilm Inhibition in Microbial Fuel Cells.ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016 Mar 23; 8(11):6992-7002.AA
Limitation of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in single-chamber microbial fuel cells (SC-MFCs) is considered an important hurdle in achieving their practical application. The cathodic catalysts faced with a liquid phase are easily primed with the electrolyte, which provides more surface area for bacterial overgrowth, resulting in the difficulty in transporting protons to active sites. Ag/Fe/N/C composites prepared from Ag and Fe-chelated melamine are used as antibacterial ORR catalysts for SC-MFCs. The structure-activity correlations for Ag/Fe/N/C are investigated by tuning the carbonization temperature (600-900 °C) to clarify how the active-constituents of Ag/Fe and N-species influence the antibacterial and ORR activities. A maximum power density of 1791 mW m(-2) is obtained by Ag/Fe/N/C (630 °C), which is far higher than that of Pt/C (1192 mW m(-2)), only having a decline of 16.14% after 90 days of running. The Fe-bonded N and the cooperation of pyridinic N and pyrrolic N in Ag/Fe/N/C contribute equally to the highly catalytic activity toward ORR. The ·OH or O2(-) species originating from the catalysis of O2 can suppress the biofilm growth on Ag/Fe/N/C cathodes. The synergistic effects between the Ag/Fe heterojunction and N-species substantially contribute to the high power output and Coulombic efficiency of Ag/Fe/N/C catalysts. These new antibacterial ORR catalysts show promise for application in MFCs.