SBIR Phase I:MnO2 as Novel Cathode Catalysts for Power Generation and Wastewater Treatment In Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs)
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will focus on the development of a novel MnO2 cathode catalyst for power generation and wastewater treatment in microbial fuel cells (MFCs); an emerging biotechnology for generation of electricity from wastewater treatment facilities. Currently, development of MFCs is impeded by the cathode reaction, which is the rate-limiting step in MFCs. Current cathode material is platinum based, which is costly and relatively scarce. Fouling of the cathode decreases the cathode effectiveness and increases maintenance costs. A MnO2-cathode catalyst will be developed to enhance the cathode reaction rate, reduce costs, and minimize fouling. The catalyst will incorporate metal additives to enhance the reaction, have an anti-fouling coating to minimize fouling, and be prepared as a monolithic material. The developed cathode will be tested in laboratory-scale systems and a continuous-flow pilot-scale MFC system treating actual wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant.
The broader/commercial impact of this project will be the removal of a key hurdle that has impeded commercialization of MFCs. A lower cost and more effective catalyst is a key component for bringing MFC technology to a cost that will be commercially attractive to any wastewater treatment facility. The anaerobic MFC has the advantage over an aerobic process due to less power consumption and reduced sludge volume. The initial cost of the MFC and the maintenance would be offset by the reduction of electricity consumed from the power grid. The development of a cost-effective MFC system has the potential for significant impact on energy and environmental sustainability and could eventually lead to for self-sustainable wastewater treatment plant.
Small Business Information at Submission:
146 Hartford Road Manchester, CT 06040
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