Electricity and disinfectant production from wastewater: Microbial fuel cell as self-powered electrolyser

Gajda, I., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C. and Ieropoulos, I. (2016) Electricity and disinfectant production from wastewater: Microbial fuel cell as self-powered electrolyser. Scientific Reports, 6 (25571). ISSN 2045-2322 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/28676

PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.


Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep25571


This study presents a simple and sustainable Microbial Fuel Cell as a standalone, self-powered reactor for in situ wastewater electrolysis, recovering nitrogen from wastewater. A process is proposed whereby the MFC electrical performance drives the electrolysis of wastewater towards the self-generation of catholyte within the same reactor. The MFCs were designed to harvest the generated catholyte in the internal chamber, which showed that liquid production rates are largely proportional to electrical current generation. The catholyte demonstrated bactericidal properties, compared to the control (open-circuit) diffusate, and to reduce observable biofilm formation on the cathode electrode. Killing effects were confirmed using bacterial kill curves constructed by exposing a bioluminescent Escherichia coli target, as a surrogate coliform to catholyte where a rapid kill rate was observed. Therefore, MFCs could serve as a water recovery system, a disinfectant/cleaner generator that limits undesired biofilm formation and as a washing agent in waterless urinals to improve sanitation. This simple and ready to implement MFC system can convert organic waste directly into electricity and self-driven nitrogen along with water recovery. This could lead to the development of energy positive bioprocesses for sustainable wastewater treatment.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:microbial fuel cell, internal cathode, catholyte generation, ammonia stripping, antimicrobial catholyte, ECAS, electrolysis
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics
ID Code:28676
Deposited By: Dr I. Gajda
Deposited On:18 Apr 2016 10:58
Last Modified:02 Mar 2018 19:09

Request a change to this item

Total Document Downloads in Past 12 Months

Document Downloads

Total Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...