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Water 2018, 10(3), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10030243

Minimum Performance Requirements for Microbial Fuel Cells to Achieve Energy-Neutral Wastewater Treatment

1
Department of Civil Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
2
School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Desalination and Water Treatment)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [906 KB, uploaded 27 February 2018]   |  

Abstract

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have recently achieved energy-positive wastewater treatment at pilot scale. Despite these achievements, there is still a limited understanding as to whether all wastewaters contain sufficient amounts of energy and, if so, whether MFCs can capture a sufficient amount of energy to offset electrical energy requirements in the wastewater treatment process. Currently, there are no tools or methods available that can determine whether an MFC can be energy-neutral a priori. To address this, we derived a simple relationship by setting the electrical energy requirements of a wastewater treatment facility equal to the net energy output of the MFC, such that the resulting expression describes the minimum chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal needed to achieve energy-neutral treatment. The resulting equation is simply a function of electrical energy requirements, Coulombic Efficiency, and cell voltage. This work provides the first ever quantitative method for determining if the MFCs are feasible to achieve energy-neutral treatment for a given wastewater and what level of performance is needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbial fuel cell; wastewater treatment; energy-neutral treatment; water-energy; organic degradation; chemical oxygen demand removal; energy analysis; electrical energy demand microbial fuel cell; wastewater treatment; energy-neutral treatment; water-energy; organic degradation; chemical oxygen demand removal; energy analysis; electrical energy demand
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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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Stoll, Z.A.; Dolfing, J.; Xu, P. Minimum Performance Requirements for Microbial Fuel Cells to Achieve Energy-Neutral Wastewater Treatment. Water 2018, 10, 243.

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