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Proton-exchanging nanocomposite membranes were successfully designed, produced, and optimized by Iranian researchers from Noshirvani Babol University of Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Kangwon National University of South Korea in order to be used in a biological fuel cell as a source of green energy at laboratory scale.
In the design of biological fuel cells, biocatalysts (microorganisms) are used in order to convert chemical energy to electrical energy. Biocatalysts can be obtained from natural environment. The important advantage of microbial fuel cells over other small energy sources such as batteries is their ability to be converted to a continuous current producer, to the extent that they can be used for months and even years in case they are continuously charged.
Proton exchange system can affect the internal resistance in the system of microbial cells. It also affects the waste caused by concentration polarization, which consequently affects the outlet power of microbial cells. Nafion is one of the most well-known membranes because it can selectively exchange protons.
The aim of the research is to design, produce, and optimize proton-exchanging membranes in order to be used in a biological fuel cell as the source of green energy at laboratorial scale. Nanocomposite membranes are suitable substitutes for proton exchanging membranes. The reason is that they possess significant advantages such as proton exchange, cost-effectiveness and resistance against sedimentation and fouling.
In the next phase, the research can work on the efficiency modification and on increasing the produced power. When the research is completed, it is expected that the plan is commercialized.
Results of the research have been published on 15 December 2012 in Electrochimica Acta, vol. 85. For more information, visit the full text of the article on pages 700-706 on the same journal.
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