Skip to main content
TitleHighly efficient microbe-mediated energy harvesting from wastewater through nanomaterial decorated three-dimensional multi-length scale porous matri...
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsHan, A, Erbay, C, Ryu, Y, Yu, C, Choi, M-J, De Figueiredo, P
Pagination3 p.; 2 fig.
Date Published2012-10-29
Place PublishedS.l.
Keywordselectricity, faecal sludge management [FSM], organic carbon, wastewater, wastewater treatment

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are “green energy” devices utilizing microbial metabolism to directly generate electricity from organic substrates, and have generated excitement in environmental and bioenergy communities due to their potential for coupling wastewater treatment with energy generation. However MFC technology has not yet been put to practical use because of its low power density compared with other fuel cell technologies. Biogas such as biomethane and biohydrogen generated from organic waste are green energy sources of great interest. Recent developments in bioelectrochemical systems such as microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) that allow electrochemically active microbe-mediated methane and hydrogen generation have the potential for economic and high purity biogas generation. However these technologies have not yet been mature enough for practical use. Our goal is to develop a self-sustainable MFC-MEC coupled hybrid system that directly generates electricity from wastewater using locally available microbes, which is then utilized by the MEC part of the system to generate high-purity biogas as a clean combustible fuel source. This hybrid system can also function either solely in MFC mode or MFC/MEC mode, producing electricity or biogas depending on the need. As a first step toward realizing this system, we are developing a three-dimensional multi-length scale porous matrix electrode decorated with carbon nanotubes to significantly increase MFC performance to rapidly treat wastewater and generate sufficient energy for practical use. Our approach is to directly grow carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on stainless steel (SS) mesh to establish a tighter linkage between the CNTs and the underlying electrodes to enhance microbe-electrode coupling. Using our recently developed high-throughput MFC array, we have screened multiple electrode compositions in parallel, and showed that CNT-grown SS mesh showed close to 2725 times higher power density (550 mW/m2) compared to bare SS mesh. This result is, to our knowledge, the largest improvement in power density of any nanomaterial-decorated electrodes for MFC/MEC applications, and paves the way towards a highly efficient and economical simultaneous wastewater treatment and bioenergy harvesting system. [authors abstract]

NotesBibliography on p. 3
Custom 1201



The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.

Back to
the top