Nanostructured Pt/MnO2 Catalysts and Their Performance for Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Air Cathode Microbial Fuel Cell

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) represent a promising technology for simultaneous bioelectricity generation and wastewater treatment. Catalysts are significant portions of the cost of microbial fuel cell cathodes. Many materials have been tested as aqueous cathodes, but air-cathodes are needed to avoid energy demands for water aeration. The sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) rate at air cathode necessitates efficient electrocatalyst such as carbon supported platinum catalyst (Pt/C) which is very costly. Manganese oxide (MnO2) was a representative metal oxide which has been studied as a promising alternative electrocatalyst for ORR and has been tested in air-cathode MFCs. However the single MnO2 has poor electric conductivity and low stability. In the present work, the MnO2 catalyst has been modified by doping Pt nanoparticle. The goal of the work was to improve the performance of the MFC with minimum Pt loading. MnO2 and Pt nanoparticles were prepared by hydrothermal and sol gel methods, respectively. Wet impregnation method was used to synthesize Pt/MnO2 catalyst. The catalysts were further used as cathode catalysts in air-cathode cubic MFCs, in which anaerobic sludge was inoculated as biocatalysts and palm oil mill effluent (POME) was used as the substrate in the anode chamber. The asprepared Pt/MnO2 was characterized comprehensively through field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM), X-Ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and cyclic voltammetry (CV) where its surface morphology, crystallinity, oxidation state and electrochemical activity were examined, respectively. XPS revealed Mn (IV) oxidation state and Pt (0) nanoparticle metal, indicating the presence of MnO2 and Pt. Morphology of Pt/MnO2 observed from FESEM shows that the doping of Pt did not cause change in needle-like shape of MnO2 which provides large contacting surface area. The electrochemical active area of the Pt/MnO2 catalysts has been increased from 276 to 617 m2/g with the increase in Pt loading from 0.2 to 0.8 wt%. The CV results in O2 saturated neutral Na2SO4 solution showed that MnO2 and Pt/MnO2 catalysts could catalyze ORR with different catalytic activities. MFC with Pt/MnO2 (0.4 wt% Pt) as air cathode catalyst generates a maximum power density of 165 mW/m3, which is higher than that of MFC with MnO2 catalyst (95 mW/m3). The open circuit voltage (OCV) of the MFC operated with MnO2 cathode gradually decreased during 14 days of operation, whereas the MFC with Pt/MnO2 cathode remained almost constant throughout the operation suggesting the higher stability of the Pt/MnO2 catalyst. Therefore, Pt/MnO2 with 0.4 wt% Pt successfully demonstrated as an efficient and low cost electrocatalyst for ORR in air cathode MFC with higher electrochemical activity, stability and hence enhanced performance.

Role of Ionic Solutions Affect Water Treeing Propagation in XLPE Insulation for High Voltage Cable

This paper presents the experimental results on role of ionic solutions affect water treeing propagation in cross-linked polyethylene insulation for high voltage cable. To study the water treeing expansion due to the ionic solutions, discs of 4mm thickness and 4cm diameter were taken from 115 kV XLPE insulation cable and were used as test specimen in this study. Ionic solutions composed of CuSO4, FeSO4, Na2SO4 and K2SO4 were used. Each specimen was immersed in 0.1 mole ionic solutions and was tested for 120 hrs. under a voltage stress at 7 kV AC rms, 1000 Hz. The results show that Na2SO4 and CuSO4solutions play an important role in the expansion of water treeing and cause degradation of the crosslinked polyethylene (XLPE) in the presence of the applied electric field.

Influence of Electrolytes and High Viscosity on Liquid-Liquid Separation

Liquid-liquid extraction is a process using two immiscible liquids to extract compounds from one phase without high temperature requirement. Mostly, the technical implementation of this process is carried out in mixer-settlers or extraction columns. In real chemical processes, chemicals may have high viscosity and contain impurities. These impurities may change the settling behavior of the process without measurably changing the physical properties of the phases. In the current study, the settling behavior and the affected parameters in a high-viscosity system were observed. Batchsettling experiments were performed to experimentally quantify the settling behavior and the mixer-settler model of Henschke [1] was used to evaluate the behavior of the toluene + water system. The viscosity of the system was increased by adding polyethylene glycol 4000 to the aqueous phase. NaCl and Na2SO4 were used to study the influence of electrolytes. The results from this study show that increasing the viscosity of water has a higher influence on the settling behavior in comparison to the effects of the electrolytes. It can be seen from the experiments that at high salt concentrations, there was no effect on the settling behavior.

Hydropriming and Osmopriming Effects on Cumin(Cuminum Cyminum L.) Seeds Germination

In production of medicinal plants, seed germination is very important problem. The treated seeds (control, hydro priming and ZnSO4) of Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) were evaluated at germination and seedling growth for tolerance to salt (NaCl and Na2SO4) conditions at the same water potentials of 0.0, -0.3, -0.6, - 0.9 and -1.2MPa. Electrical conductivity (EC) values of the NaCl solutions were 0.0, 6.5, 12.7, 18.4 and 23.5 dSm-1, respectively. The objective of the study was to determine factors responsible for germination and early seedling growth due to salt toxicity or osmotic effect and to optimize the best priming treatment for these stress conditions. Results revealed that germination delayed in both solutions, having variable germination with different priming treatments. Germination, shoot and weight, root and shoot length were higher but mean germination time and abnormal germination percentage were lower in NaCl than Na2SO4 at the same water potential. The root / shoot weight and R/S length increased with increase in osmotic potential in both NaCl and Na2SO4 solutions. NaCl had less inhibitor effect on seedling growth than the germination. It was concluded that inhibition of germination at the same water potential of NaCl and Na2SO4 resulted from salt toxicity rather than osmotic effect. Hydro priming increased germination and seedling growth under salt stress. This protocol has practical importance and could be recommended to farmers to achieve higher germination and uniform emergence under field conditions.

Study on Leakage Current Waveforms of Porcelain Insulator due to Various Artificial Pollutants

This paper presents the experimental results of leakage current waveforms which appears on porcelain insulator surface due to existence of artificial pollutants. The tests have been done using the chemical compounds of NaCl, Na2SiO3, H2SO4, CaO, Na2SO4, KCl, Al2SO4, MgSO4, FeCl3, and TiO2. The insulator surface was coated with those compounds and dried. Then, it was tested in the chamber where the high voltage was applied. Using correspondence analysis, the result indicated that the fundamental harmonic of leakage current was very close to the applied voltage and third harmonic leakage current was close to the yielded leakage current amplitude. The first harmonic power was correlated to first harmonic amplitude of leakage current, and third harmonic power was close to third harmonic one. The chemical compounds of H2SO4 and Na2SiO3 affected to the power factor of around 70%. Both are the most conductive, due to the power factor drastically increase among the chemical compounds.

Synthesis and Electrochemical Characterization of Iron Oxide / Activated Carbon Composite Electrode for Symmetrical Supercapacitor

In the present work, we have developed a symmetric electrochemical capacitor based on the nanostructured iron oxide (Fe3O4)-activated carbon (AC) nanocomposite materials. The physical properties of the nanocomposites were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis. The electrochemical performances of the composite electrode in 1.0 M Na2SO3 and 1.0 M Na2SO4 aqueous solutions were evaluated using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The composite electrode with 4 wt% of iron oxide nanomaterials exhibits the highest capacitance of 86 F/g. The experimental results clearly indicate that the incorporation of iron oxide nanomaterials at low concentration to the composite can improve the capacitive performance, mainly attributed to the contribution of the pseudocapacitance charge storage mechanism and the enhancement on the effective surface area of the electrode. Nevertheless, there is an optimum threshold on the amount of iron oxide that needs to be incorporated into the composite system. When this optimum threshold is exceeded, the capacitive performance of the electrode starts to deteriorate, as a result of the undesired particle aggregation, which is clearly indicated in the SEM analysis. The electrochemical performance of the composite electrode is found to be superior when Na2SO3 is used as the electrolyte, if compared to the Na2SO4 solution. It is believed that Fe3O4 nanoparticles can provide favourable surface adsorption sites for sulphite (SO3 2-) anions which act as catalysts for subsequent redox and intercalation reactions.