Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fouling in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) is a major drawback since it limits proton migration. To mitigate membrane fouling, the typical strategy was surface coating with silver nanoparticles (AgNP) as sterilizing agents, but adverse silver release and interference on proton transfer are intrinsic constraint. In this study, to ameliorate these disadvantages the PEM was coated with AgNP and polydopamin (PDA), individually and in combination or even in different coating order, to study synergetic effects of these modifications. Combined use of PDA and AgNP showed a significantly higher MEC performance than a single coating (H2 recovery after 6 month operation; PDA_Ag = 68.12%, PDA-only = 16.1%, Ag-only = 5.69% and pristine = 3.21%). In terms of coating order, when AgNPs were coated immediately after the PDA coating, AgNPs were more uniformly formed and less released, and proton transportability (t¯+ = 0.96) was not sacrificed, showing a biofouling reduction of 80.74% compared to pristine PEM.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government ( MSIT ) (No. 2019R1A2C1006356 ) and in part by Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through Industrial Facilities & Infrastructure Research Program, funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) ( 146834 ).
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- Microbial electrolysis cells
- Proton exchange membrane
- Silver nanoparticle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology