Generation of electricity from FeCl3 pretreatment of rice straw using a fuel cell system

Ilgook Kim, Muhammad Saif Ur Rehman, Kyoung Heon Kim, Jong In Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored a new approach to the pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass using FeCl3 combined with a fuel cell system to generate electricity. After pretreatment, ferric iron (Fe3+), a strong catalyst in the hydrolysis of carbohydrate, was found to be reduced to ferrous iron (Fe2+) by means of the oxidation of xylose and lignin. Ferrous iron, as a fuel, was employed to the anode part of a fuel cell, generating power of 1110mW/m2. During the fuel cell operation, ferrous iron was completely removed through oxidation to ferric iron and precipitated out. The optimal conditions for the operation of the fuel cell were found to be a pH of 7.0 and ferrous iron concentration of above 0.008M. These results clearly show that a fuel cell system could be used not only to remove ferrous iron from liquid hydrolysate, but also to produce electricity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-639
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource technology
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) ( NRF-20110005754 ) and the Advanced Biomass R&D Center (ABC) of Korea Grant funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( ABC-20110031348 ).


  • Ferric iron
  • Ferrous iron
  • Fuel cell
  • Rice straw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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