Ann D. Christy

Abstracts

2 Bacterio-Algal Microbial Fuel Cells for Sustainable Power Production, Wastewater Treatment, and Desalination

Authors: Ann D. Christy, Beenish Saba

Abstract:

The Microbial fuel Cell (MFC) is a successful integrated technology for power production and wastewater treatment. MFCs are recognized for their dual function, but research in this field is still ongoing to increase efficiency and power output. One such effort is successful integration of phototrophic and autotrophic microorganisms to create bacterio-algal MFCs for sustainable electricity production along with wastewater treatment and algal biomass production. An MFC is typically configured with an anaerobic anodic chamber containing exoelectrogenic microorganisms separated by a cation exchange membrane from an adjacent aerobic cathodic chamber. The two electrodes are connected by an external circuit. This conventional MFC can be converted into a phototrophic MFC by introducing photosynthetic microorganisms into the cathode chamber. This study examines adding a third desalination chamber to a two-chamber bacterio-algal MFC. Successful results have been observed from these three-chamber MFCs demonstrating wastewater treatment in the anodic chamber, phototrophic algal growth in the cathodic chamber, and desalination in the middle chamber. The present article will summarize successful results of the bacterio-algal fuel cells and offer insights about the mechanisms involved. Tables summarizing the input substrate along with optimized operational conditions and output performance in terms of power production and efficiencies of water and wastewater treatment will be presented. The negative impacts and challenges will be discussed, along with possible future research directions. Results suggest that the three chamber bacterio-algal desalination cell has potential as a feasible technology for power production, wastewater treatment and desalination, but it needs further investigation under optimized conditions.

Keywords: microbial fuel cell, bacterio-algal MFC, three chamber, wastewater treatment and desalination

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1 Power Generation and Treatment potential of Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) from Landfill Leachate

Authors: Beenish Saba, Ann D. Christy

Abstract:

Modern day municipal solid waste landfills are operated and controlled to protect the environment from contaminants during the biological stabilization and degradation of the solid waste. They are equipped with liners, caps, gas and leachate collection systems. Landfill gas is passively or actively collected and can be used as bio fuel after necessary purification, but leachate treatment is the more difficult challenge. Leachate, if not recirculated in a bioreactor landfill system, is typically transported to a local wastewater treatment plant for treatment. These plants are designed for sewage treatment, and often charge additional fees for higher strength wastewaters such as leachate if they accept them at all. Different biological, chemical, physical and integrated techniques can be used to treat the leachate. Treating that leachate with simultaneous power production using microbial fuel cells (MFC) technology has been a recent innovation, reported its application in its earliest starting phase. High chemical oxygen demand (COD), ionic strength and salt concentration are some of the characteristics which make leachate an excellent substrate for power production in MFCs. Different materials of electrodes, microbial communities, carbon co-substrates and temperature conditions are some factors that can be optimized to achieve simultaneous power production and treatment. The advantage of the MFC is its dual functionality but lower power production and high costs are the hurdles in its commercialization and more widespread application. The studies so far suggest that landfill leachate MFCs can produce 1.8 mW/m2 with 79% COD removal, while amendment with food leachate or domestic wastewater can increase performance up to 18W/m3 with 90% COD removal. The columbic efficiency is reported to vary between 2-60%. However efforts towards biofilm optimization, efficient electron transport system studies and use of genetic tools can increase the efficiency of the MFC and can determine its future potential in treating landfill leachate.

Keywords: Power Generation, Landfill Leachate, microbial fuel cell, MFC

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