Autochthonous N-doped carbon nanotube/activated carbon composites derived from industrial paper sludge for chromate (VI) reduction in microbial fuel cells.

Author(s) Zhou, S.; Zhang, B.; Liao, Z.; Zhou, L.; Yuan, Y.
Journal Sci Total Environ
Date Published 2020 Apr 10
Abstract

The performance of microbial electrochemical system for hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) contaminant has been a severe challenge remaining active for further development. In this study, we developed a novel biochar material from industrial paper sludge for microbial fuel cell cathode fabrication to reduce aquatic Cr(VI) to non-toxic Cr(III). With additive melamine as nitrogen source and self-containing small portion of Fe as catalyst, the sludge evolved into electroactive biochar (BC-M) rendering a unique N-doped carbon nanotubes/activated carbon (N-CNT/AC) frame after pyrolyzed at 900 °C for 2 h. Electrochemical analysis revealed enhanced electron transference capacity of this composite material, such effectiveness was attributed to the increased surface area and superior electroconductivity of N-doped CNTs. For performance of Cr(VI) reduction, a 55.1% reduction efficiency was achieved in an microbial fuel cell equipped with BC-M cathode while it reduced to about 41.8% when the cathode was replaced by electrode modified with no-melamine-involved biochar. The strategy of biochar upgrading from industrial paper sludge proposed in this work is expected to not only bring technical solution for low-cost CNT materials preparation for Cr(VI) reduction, but also put forward further research on value-added chemical synthesis from waste in various fields of energy and environment.

DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136513
ISSN 1879-1026
Citation Sci Total Environ. 2020;712:136513.

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