Optimization of a Pt-free cathode suitable for practical applications of microbial fuel cells

Olivier Lefebvre, Wai K. Ooi, Zhe Tang, Md Abdullah-Al-Mamun, Daniel H.C. Chua, How Y. Ng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are considered as a promising way for the direct extraction of biochemical energy from biomass into electricity. However, scaling up the process for practical applications and mainly for wastewater treatment is an issue because there is a necessity to get rid of unsustainable platinum (Pt) catalyst. In this study, we developed a low-cost cathode for a MFC making use of sputter-deposited cobalt (Co) as the catalyst and different types of cathode architecture were tested in a single-chambered air-cathode MFC. By sputtering the catalyst on the air-side of the cathode, increased contact with ambient oxygen significantly resulted in higher electricity generation. This outcome was different from previous studies using conventionally-coated Pt cathodes, which was due to the different technology used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4907-4910
Number of pages4
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cathode
  • Cobalt
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Sputtering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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