Flame synthesis of carbon nanostructures on stainless steel anodes for use in microbial fuel cells

Jennifer L. Lamp, Jeremy S. Guest, Sayangdev Naha, Katherine A. Radavich, Nancy G. Love, Michael W. Ellis, Ishwar K. Puri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) offer a promising alternative energy technology, but suffer from low power densities which hinder their practical applicability. In order to improve anodic power density, we deposited carbon nanostructures (CNSs) on an otherwise plain stainless steel mesh (SS-M) anode. Using a flame synthesis method that did not require pretreatment of SS-M substrates, we were able to produce these novel CNS-enhanced SS-M (CNS-M) anodes quickly (in a matter of minutes) and inexpensively, without the added costs of chemical pretreatments. During fed batch experiments with biomass from anaerobic digesters in single-chamber MFCs, the median power densities (based on the projected anodic surface area) were 2.9 mW m-2 and 187 mW m -2 for MFCs with SS-M and CNS-M anodes, respectively. The addition of CNSs to a plain SS-M anode via flame deposition therefore resulted in a 60-fold increase in the median power production. The combination of CNSs and metallic current collectors holds considerable promise for power production in MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5829-5834
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anode
  • Carbon nanofibers
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Flame deposition
  • Fuel cell
  • Microbial

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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