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Influence of supporting electrolyte in electricity generation and degradation of organic pollutants in photocatalytic fuel cell

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This study investigated the effect of different supporting electrolyte (Na2SO4, MgSO4, NaCl) in degradation of Reactive Black 5 (RB5) and generation of electricity. Zinc oxide (ZnO) was immobilized onto carbon felt acted as photoanode, while Pt-coated carbon paper as photocathode was placed in a single chamber photocatalytic fuel cell, which then irradiated by UV lamp for 24 h. The degradation and mineralization of RB5 with 0.1 M NaCl rapidly decreased after 24-h irradiation time, followed by MgSO4, Na2SO4 and without electrolyte. The voltage outputs for Na2SO4, MgSO4 and NaCl were 908, 628 and 523 mV, respectively, after 24-h irradiation time; meanwhile, their short-circuit current density, J SC, was 1.3, 1.2 and 1.05 mA cm−2, respectively. The power densities for Na2SO4, MgSO4 and NaCl were 0.335, 0.256 and 0.245 mW cm−2, respectively. On the other hand, for without supporting electrolyte, the voltage output and short-circuit current density was 271.6 mV and 0.055 mA cm−2, respectively. The supporting electrolyte NaCl showed greater performance in degradation of RB5 and generation of electricity due to the formation of superoxide radical anions which enhance the degradation of dye. The mineralization of RB5 with different supporting electrolyte was measured through spectrum analysis and reduction in COD concentration.

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The authors would like to thank Maido Corporation, Japan, for supplying carbon felt.

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Correspondence to Soon-An Ong.

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Responsible editor: Suresh Pillai

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Khalik, W.F., Ong, S., Ho, L. et al. Influence of supporting electrolyte in electricity generation and degradation of organic pollutants in photocatalytic fuel cell. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 16716–16721 (2016).

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  • Azo dye
  • Carbon felt
  • Photocatalytic fuel cell
  • Supporting electrolyte
  • Zinc oxide