Crumpled graphene particles for microbial fuel cell electrodes

Li Xiao, Jacqueline Damien, Jiayan Luo, Hee Dong Jang, Jiaxing Huang, Zhen He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


Graphene has a promising role in electrode fabrication/modification for microbial fuel cell (MFC) applications but there is a lack of research on graphene in MFCs. This study has systematically investigated two types of graphene materials with very different morphologies, namely regular graphene (like flat sheets of paper) and crumpled particles (like crumpled paper balls), respectively, to modify anode and cathode electrodes in MFCs. The higher electricity generation with the crumpled graphene particles is attributed to their higher electrical conductivity in the thickness direction, their larger surface area, catalytic activities of oxygen reduction, and the open structure they pack into that facilitates mass transfer of the fuels and ions. The crumpled graphene-modified anode electrode produces the highest maximum power density (3.6 W m -3), twice that of the activated carbon-modified anode electrode (1.7 W m -3). The maximum power densities with the crumpled graphene- and flat graphene-modified cathode electrodes are 3.3 W m -3 and 2.5 W m -3, significantly higher than 0.3 W m -3 with the unmodified carbon cloth, although still lower than a platinum cathode electrode. These results have demonstrated that graphene-based materials, especially the crumpled graphene particles, can be effective electrode modifying materials for improving electricity generation in MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012


  • Bioenergy
  • Crumpled graphene particles
  • Electrode modification
  • Graphene sheets
  • Microbial fuel cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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