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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02760

Carbonized cow dung as a high performance and low cost anode material for bioelectrochemical systems

HuaJun Feng1, Zhipeng Ge1,  Wei Chen1, Jing Wang2, DongSheng Shen1, Yufeng Jia1, Hua Qiao3, Xianbin Ying1, Xueqin zhang4 and Meizhen Wang1*
  • 1Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Recycling, China
  • 2Zhejiang Lantu Environmental Protection Co.,Ltd., China
  • 3Department of Military Installations, Army logistics University of PLA,, China
  • 4Advanced Water Management Centre, University of Queensland, Australia

We report an efficient way to convert cow dung (CD) into a high-performance anode material for bioelectrochemical systems through a heat-treatment in a nitrogen atmosphere. Thermal gravimetric analysis showed that the CD carbonization process started at 300 °C and ended at approximately 550 °C; the weight was reduced by 51%. After a heat-treatment at 800 °C for 2 h, the treated CD featured a good conductivity and a high surface area. The maximum current density achieved for a CD anode (heated at 800 °C) was 11.74 ± 0.41 A m-2, which was approximately 2.2 times as high as that of commonly used graphite felt anodes (5.50 ± 0.10 A m−2). This study shows that a value-added anode material can be produced through conversion of CD by high-temperature carbonization. This approach provides a new way to alleviate environmental problems associated with CD.

Keywords: bioelectrochemical system, Cow dung, Carbonization, Anode material, Current generation

Received: 19 Jul 2018; Accepted: 29 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Tian Zhang, Wuhan University of Technology, China

Reviewed by:

Nabin Aryal, Aarhus University, Denmark
Kun Guo, Ghent University, Belgium  

Copyright: © 2018 Feng, Ge, Chen, Wang, Shen, Jia, Qiao, Ying, zhang and Wang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Meizhen Wang, Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Recycling, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China,