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Energies 2015, 8(12), 14064-14077; doi:10.3390/en81212416

Strategies for Reducing the Start-up Operation of Microbial Electrochemical Treatments of Urban Wastewater

1
IMDEAWATER Institute, Scientific-Technological Park of Alcalá, Madrid 28805, Spain
2
Institute of Electrochemistry, University of Alicante, Alicante 03690, Spain
3
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Alcalá, Madrid 28871, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chikashi Sato
Received: 14 October 2015 / Revised: 13 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 December 2015 / Published: 12 December 2015
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Abstract

Microbial electrochemical technologies (METs) constitute the core of a number of emerging technologies with a high potential for treating urban wastewater due to a fascinating reaction mechanism—the electron transfer between bacteria and electrodes to transform metabolism into electrical current. In the current work, we focus on the model electroactive microorganism Geobacter sulfurreducens to explore both the design of new start-up procedures and electrochemical operations. Our chemostat-grown plug and play cells, were able to reduce the start-up period by 20-fold while enhancing chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal by more than 6-fold during this period. Moreover, a filter-press based bioreactor was successfully tested for both acetate-supplemented synthetic wastewater and real urban wastewater. This proof-of-concept pre-pilot treatment included a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) followed in time by a microbial fuel cell (MFC) to finally generate electrical current of ca. 20 A·m−2 with a power of 10 W·m−2 while removing 42 g COD day−1·m−2. The effective removal of acetate suggests a potential use of this modular technology for treating acetogenic wastewater where Geobacter sulfurreducens outcompetes other organisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioelectrochemical systems (BES); microbial electrochemical technologies (METs); Geobacter; microbial fuel cell (MFC); microbial electrolysis cell (MEC); acetate; acetogenic wastewater; wastewater treatment bioelectrochemical systems (BES); microbial electrochemical technologies (METs); Geobacter; microbial fuel cell (MFC); microbial electrolysis cell (MEC); acetate; acetogenic wastewater; wastewater treatment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Borjas, Z.; Ortiz, J.M.; Aldaz, A.; Feliu, J.; Esteve-Núñez, A. Strategies for Reducing the Start-up Operation of Microbial Electrochemical Treatments of Urban Wastewater. Energies 2015, 8, 14064-14077.

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