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Microbial fuel cells: an option for wastewater treatment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Narcis Duteanu, Dr Makarand Ghangrekar, Dr Benjamin Erable, Emeritus Professor Keith Scott


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The Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) is a promising technology for efficient wastewater treatment and recovering energy as direct electricity for onsite applications. For treatment of biodegradable organic matters in MFCs, removal efficiencies comparable with established treatment methods can be obtained. Even some of the bio-refractory compounds can be effectively removed in MFCs. Power densities higher than 2 W/m(2) and volumetric power of 500 W/m(3) are reported. However the power output varies drastically depending on the MFC configuration, substrate used, type of bacterial culture and operating conditions. The results presented so far demonstrated that electricity can be generated by exploiting microorganisms as biocatalysts, but both technical and biological optimizations are needed to maximize power output. The advantages of using MFCs for wastewater treatment, the organic matter removal efficiency and electricity generation reported recently for different MFC configurations are described in this paper. Factors affecting performance of the MFC are summarized. MFC scale-up issues and further development needs are emphasized. This information on factors affecting MFC performance and scale-up issues would be very useful tool for researchers for shifting this technology from lab-scale to pilot and full-scale applications for sustainable wastewater treatment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Duteanu NM, Ghangrekar MM, Erable B, Scott K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Engineering and Management Journal

Year: 2010

Volume: 9

Issue: 8

Pages: 1069-1087

Print publication date: 01/08/2010

ISSN (print): 1582-9596

ISSN (electronic): 1843-3707

Publisher: Universitatea Tehnica Gheorghe Asachi Iasi