Nanorod β-Ga2O3 semiconductor modified activated carbon as catalyst for improving power generation of microbial fuel cell

  • Xiujuan Li
  • Di Liu
  • Xiaoping MoEmail author
  • Kexun LiEmail author
Original Paper


Nanorod monoclinic β-Ga2O3 semiconductor, synthesized by a facile hydrothermal method, was firstly researched as a catalyst to modify activated carbon air cathode in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). The maximum power density of modified MFC reaching 1843 ± 40 mW m−2 was 3 times higher than the control. The Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results revealed the larger surface area and porous structure could provide more active sites to improve the performance of MFCs. The result of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) confirmed that plenty of oxygen vacancy existed in the synthesized β-Ga2O3. Tafel curve and rotating disk electrode (RDE) results illustrated the high exchange current density of β-Ga2O3 and the four-electron pathway at the cathode during the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), respectively. The cathode modified with β-Ga2O3 displayed excellent improvement towards ORR and therefore improved the performance of MFCs.


β-Ga2O3 Semiconductor Oxygen vacancy Oxygen reduction reaction Microbial fuel cells 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of Tianjin (17JCYBJC23300), National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2016YFC 0400704 and No. 2016YFC0401407), and the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin (No. IWHR-SKL-KF201806).

Supplementary material

10008_2019_4377_MOESM1_ESM.docx (345 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 344 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.MOE Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental CriteriaNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Tianjin Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Pollution ControlTianjinChina

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