IWA Publishing
IWA Publishing

Performance of air-cathode stacked microbial fuel cells systems for wastewater treatment and electricity production

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Two different air-cathode stacked microbial fuel cell (MFC) configurations were evaluated under continuous flow during the treatment of municipal wastewater and electricity production at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 3, 1, and 0.5 d. Stacked MFC 1 was formed by 20 individual air-cathode MFC units. The second stacked MFC (stacked MFC 2) consisted of 40 air-cathode MFC units placed in a shared reactor. The maximum voltages produced at closed circuit (1,000 Ω) were 170 mV for stacked MFC 1 and 94 mV for stacked MFC 2. Different power densities in each MFC unit were obtained due to a potential drop phenomenon and to a change in chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations inside reactors. The maximum power densities from individual MFC units were up to 1,107 mW/m2 for stacked MFC 1 and up to 472 mW/m2 for stacked MFC 2. The maximum power densities in stacked MFC 1 and MFC 2 connected in series were 79 mW/m2 and 4 mW/m2, respectively. Electricity generation and COD removal efficiencies were reduced when the HRT was decreased. High removal efficiencies of 84% of COD, 47% of total nitrogen, and 30% of total phosphorus were obtained during municipal wastewater treatment.

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