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Bioresource Technology
Vol. 193
, 2015, Pages: 545–548

Pyrolyzed binuclear-cobalt-phthalocyanine as electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction reaction in microbial fuel cells

Baitao Li, Mian Wang, Xiuxiu Zhou, Xiujun Wang, Bingchuan Liu, Baikun Li

Key Laboratory of Fuel Cell Technology of Guangdong Province, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China.


A novel platinum (Pt)-free cathodic materials binuclear-cobalt-phthalocyanine (Bi-CoPc) pyrolyzed at different temperatures (300–1000 °C) were examined as the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts, and compared with unpyrolyzed Bi-CoPc/C and Pt cathode in single chamber microbial fuel cells (SCMFCs). The results showed that the pyrolysis process increased the nitrogen abundance on Bi-CoPc and changed the nitrogen types. The Bi-CoPc pyrolyzed at 800 °C contained a significant amount of pyrrolic-N, and exhibited a high electrochemical catalytic activity. The power density and current density increased with temperature: Bi-CoPc/C-800 > Bi-CoPc/C-1000 > Bi-CoPc/C-600 > Bi-CoPc/C-300 > Bi-CoPc/C. The SCMFC with Bi-CoPc/C-800 cathode had a maximum power density of 604 mW m-2. The low cost Bi-CoPc compounds developed in this study showed a potential in air-breathing MFC systems, with the proper pyrolysis temperature being chosen.

Keywords: Microbial fuel cell; Binuclear-cobalt-phthalocyanine; Oxygen reduction reaction; Pyrolysis; Nitrogen doping.

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