IJMS, Vol. 23, Pages 11230: Polyaniline-Derived Nitrogen-Containing Carbon Nanostructures with Different Morphologies as Anode Modifier in Microbial Fuel Cells (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Anode modification with carbon nanomaterials is an important strategy for the improvement of microbial fuel cell (MFC) performance. The presence of nitrogen in the carbon network, introduced as active nitrogen functional groups, is considered beneficial for anode modification. In this aim, nitrogen-containing carbon nanostructures (NCNs) with different morphologies were obtained via carbonization of polyaniline and were further investigated as anode modifiers in MFCs. The present study investigates the influence of NCN morphology on the changes in the anodic microbial community and MFC performance. Results show that the nanofibrillar morphology of NCNs is beneficial for the improvement of MFC performance, with a maximum power density of 40.4 mW/m2, 1.25 times higher than the anode modified with carbonized polyaniline with granular morphology and 2.15 times higher than MFC using the carbon cloth-anode. The nanofibrillar morphology, due to the well-defined individual nanofibers separated by microgaps and micropores and a better organization of the carbon network, leads to a larger specific surface area and higher conductivity, which can allow more efficient substrate transport and better bacterial colonization with greater relative abundances of Geobacter and Thermoanaerobacter, justifying the improvement of MFC performance.