Different modified multi-walled carbon nanotube–based anodes to improve the performance of microbial fuel cells

Mengjie Fan, Wei Zhang, Jingyun Sun, Liuliu Chen, Peiwen Li, Yingwen Chen, Shemin Zhu, Shubao Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


To clearly illustrate the activity effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and their functionality on anodic exoelectrogen in microbial fuel cells (MFCs), the growth of E. coli and anode biofilm on MWCNT-, MWCNT–COOH– and MWCNT–NH2– modified anodes were compared with a bare carbon cloth anode. The activity effect was characterized by the amount of colony-forming units (CFUs), activity biomass, morphology of biofilms and cyclic voltammetric (CV). The results showed that MWCNTs, MWCNT-COOH and MWCNT-NH2 exhibited good biocompatibility on exoelectrogenic bacteria. The performance of MFCs were improved through the introduction of MWCNT-modified anodes, especially in the presence of –COOH/–NH2 groups. The MFCs with the MWCNT–COOH–modified anode achieved a maximum power density of 560.40 mW/m2, which was 49% higher than that obtained with pure carbon cloth. In conclusion, the positive effects of MWCNTs and their functionality were evaluated for promoting biofilm formation, biodegradation and electron transfer on anodes. Specifically, the MWCNT–COOH–modified anode demonstrated the largest application potential for the development of MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22786-22795
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 7 2017


  • Biomass
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Modified anodes
  • Multi-walled carbon nanotube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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