Graphene oxide (GO) is an emerging material for energy and environmental applications, but it has been primarily produced using chemical processes involving high energy consumption and hazardous chemicals. In this study, we reported a new bioelectrochemical method to produce GO from graphite under ambient conditions without chemical amendments, value-added organic compounds and high rate H2 were also produced. Compared with abiotic electrochemical electrolysis control, the microbial assisted graphite oxidation produced high rate of graphite oxide and graphene oxide (BEGO) sheets, CO2, and current at lower applied voltage. The resultant electrons are transferred to a biocathode, where H2 and organic compounds are produced by microbial reduction of protons and CO2, respectively, a process known as microbial electrosynthesis (MES). Pseudomonas is the dominant population on the anode, while abundant anaerobic solvent-producing bacteria Clostridium carboxidivorans is likely responsible for electrosynthesis on the cathode. Oxygen production through water electrolysis was not detected on the anode due to the presence of facultative and aerobic bacteria as O2 sinkers. This new method provides a sustainable route for producing graphene materials and renewable H2 at low cost, and it may stimulate a new area of research in MES.
Lu, Lu; Zeng, Cuiping; Wang, Luda; Yin, Xiaobo; Jin, Song; Lu, Anhuai; and Jason Ren, Zhiyong, "Graphene oxide and H2 production from bioelectrochemical graphite oxidation." (2015). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Contributions. 12.