Cast and 3D Printed Ion Exchange Membranes for Monolithic Microbial Fuel Cell Fabrication

Hemma Philamore, Jonathan M Rossiter, Peter Walters, Jonathan Winfield, Ioannis Ieropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


We present novel solutions to a key challenge in microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology; greater power density through increased relative surface area of the ion exchange membrane that separates the anode and cathode
electrodes. The first use of a 3D printed polymer and a cast latex membrane are compared to a conventionally used cation exchange membrane. These new techniques significantly expand the geometric versatility available to ion
exchange membranes in MFCs, which may be instrumental in answering challenges in the design of MFCs including miniaturisation, cost and ease of fabrication.

Under electrical load conditions selected for optimal power transfer, peak power production (mean 10 batch feeds) was 11.39 μW (CEM), 10.51 μW (latex) and 0.92 μW (Tangoplus). Change in conductivity and pH of anolyte
were correlated with MFC power production. Digital and environmental scanning electron microscopy show structural changes to and biological precipitation on membrane materials following long term use in an MFC. The cost of the
novel membranes was lower than the conventional CEM. The efficacy of two novel membranes for ion exchange indicates that further characterisation of these materials and their fabrication techniques, shows great potential to
significantly increase the range and type of MFCs that can be produced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-99
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


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