Controlling methanogenesis and improving power production of microbial fuel cell by lauric acid dosing

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Methanogens compete with anodophiles for substrate and thus reduce the power generation and coulombic efficiency (CE) of the microbial fuel cell (MFC). Performance of a baked clayware membrane MFC inoculated with mixed anaerobic sludge pretreated with lauric acid was investigated in order to enhance power recovery by controlling methanogenesis. In the presence of lauric acid pretreated inoculum, MFC produced maximum volumetric power density of 4.8 W/m3 and the CE increased from 3.6% (for untreated inoculum) to 11.6%. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electro-kinetic evaluation indicated a higher bio-catalytic activity at the anode of the MFC inoculated with lauric acid pretreated sludge. With the lauric acid pretreated inoculum a higher catalytic current of 114 mA, exchange current density of 40.78 mA/m2 and lower charge transfer resistance of 0.00016 Ωm2 were observed during oxidation at the anode. Addition of lauric acid significantly achieved suppression of methanogenesis and enhanced the sustainable power generation of MFC by 3.9 times as compared with control MFC inoculated with sludge without any pretreatment.

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