SBIR Phase I:MnO2 as Novel Cathode Catalysts for Power Generation and Wastewater Treatment In Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs)

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Fuss & O
146 Hartford Rd.
Manchester, CT 06040
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will focus on the development of a novel MnO2 cathode catalyst for power generation and wastewater treatment in microbial fuel cells (MFCs); an emerging biotechnology for generation of electricity from wastewater treatment facilities. Currently, development of MFCs is impeded by the cathode reaction, which is the rate-limiting step in MFCs. Current cathode material is platinum based, which is costly and relatively scarce. Fouling of the cathode decreases the cathode effectiveness and increases maintenance costs. A MnO2-cathode catalyst will be developed to enhance the cathode reaction rate, reduce costs, and minimize fouling. The catalyst will incorporate metal additives to enhance the reaction, have an anti-fouling coating to minimize fouling, and be prepared as a monolithic material. The developed cathode will be tested in laboratory-scale systems and a continuous-flow pilot-scale MFC system treating actual wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant.