Poly(4-styrene sulfonic acid)/bacterial cellulose membranes: Electrochemical performance in a single-chamber microbial fuel cell


The present work aims at exploiting a polyelectrolyte nanocomposite based on poly(4-styrene sulfonic acid) (PSSA) and bacterial cellulose (BC) as an eco-friendly proton-exchange membrane (PEM) for application in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). The PSSA/BC-based PEM was confirmed as a true nanocomposite by inelastic neutron scattering (INS) vibrational spectroscopy. Moreover, this PEM exhibited thermal stability up to 155 °C, Young's modulus of 11.7 ± 0.9 GPa, ion exchange capacity of 1.85 mmol g−1, and maximum protonic conductivity of 1.73 S m−1. The application of the PSSA/BC nanocomposite membrane in a single-chamber lab-scale MFC with a pure culture of Shewanella frigidimarina yielded a maximum power density of 2.42 mW m−2, open circuit voltage of 0.436 V, and internal resistance of 15.1 kΩ. These results are superior to those obtained with a commercial Nafion® membrane and, thus, confirm the potential of this bio-based PSSA/BC nanocomposite as a PEM for MFCs.


Vilela, C; Cordeiro, DM; Vilas Boas, J; Barbosa, P; Nolasco, M; Vaz, PD; Rudic, S; Ribeiro-Claro, P; Silvestre, AJD; Oliveira, VB; Pinto, AMFR; Figueiredo, FML; Freire, CSR

nossos autores


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials (UID/CTM/50011/2019), financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC, and project UniRCell (SAICTPAC/0032/2015, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016422), co-financed by FCT/MEC and FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. The research contracts of C.V. and P.B. are funded by national funds (OE), through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., in the scope of the framework contract foreseen in the numbers 4, 5 and 6 of article 23, of the Decree-Law 57/2016, of August 29, changed by Law 57/2017, of July 19. FCT is also acknowledge for the doctoral grant to J.V.B. (PD/BD/114314/2016) and for the research contracts under the programs FCT Investigator 2015 to M.N. (IF/01468/2015) and Stimulus of Scientific Employment 2017 to C.S.R.F. (CEECIND/00464/2017). The STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is acknowledged for access to neutron beam facilities.

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