In this study, a membraneless, monolithic micro photocatalytic fuel cell with an air-breathing cathode was developed for simultaneous wastewater treatment and electricity generation. In this newly-developed micro photocatalytic fuel cell, the photoanode and cathode were arranged with a shoulder-to-shoulder design, forming two planar electrodes. Such design offers several advantages of enhanced mass transfer, uniform light distribution, short light transfer path, membrane elimination and easy fabrication, integration, and compatibility with other microdevices. The performance of this type fuel cell was evaluated by using methanol as a model pollutant under the alkaline condition. Experimental results indicated the developed micro photocatalytic fuel cell was able to show good photo-response to the illumination and satisfactory performance as well as durability. Parametric study on the cell performance was also performed. It was found that increasing the light intensity, methanol concentration and KOH concentration could improve the cell performance. But for the effect of the liquid flow rate, it was shown that the cell performance firstly increased with increasing the liquid flow rate and then decreased with further increasing the liquid flow rate. This study not only opens a new avenue for the design of the micro photocatalytic fuel cell but also is helpful for the optimization of the operating conditions.
- Air-breathing cathode
- Cell performance
- Membraneless and monolithic design
- Photocatalytic fuel cell
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