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ISSN: 2155-9821

Journal of Bioprocessing & Biotechniques
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Review Article

Wastewater Treatment with Microbial Fuel Cells: A Design and Feasibility Study for Scale-up in Microbreweries

Ellen Dannys, Travis Green, Andrew Wettlaufer, Chandra Mouli R Madhurnathakam and Ali Elkamel*
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Corresponding Author : Ali Elkamel
Department of Chemical Engineering, 200 University Avenue West
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada-N2L 3G1
Tel: 5198884567 extn. 37157
Fax: 5197464979
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: December 29, 2015; Accepted: January 21, 2016; Published: January 26, 2016
Citation:Dannys E, Green T, Wettlaufer A, Madhurnathakam CMR, Elkamel A (2016) Wastewater Treatment with Microbial Fuel Cells: A Design and Feasibility Study for Scale-up in Microbreweries. J Bioprocess Biotech 6:267. doi:10.4172/2155- 9821.1000267
Copyright:© 2016 Dannys E, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Wastewater treatment has traditionally been an energy intensive process, consuming between 950 and 2850 kJ/m3 of wastewater treated. By one account, wastewater contains 9.3 times more energy than is used to treat an equivalent volume, thus creating the desire to harness this energy through the use of a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC). MFCs oxidize organic substrates, allowing simultaneous wastewater treatment and electricity generation. Previous research has primarily focused on the development of MFCs for electricity generation, mainly at the small, laboratory scale. Herein, an industrial-scale MFC process is proposed for the treatment of wastewater from a microbrewery based on a previously published model describing MFC operation. Through optimization and scale-out, a two chamber MFC process is developed for the treatment of 84 L/hr of wastewater with an inlet Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) of 3000 mg/L. An overall COD conversion of 91.9% is achieved allowing effluent to be discharged directly down a municipal sewer. Electricity generation is 26.4 kWh, 107% of the operational requirement. With a payback period of 5 years, this work shows that there is potential for the implementation of MFC technology in the food and beverage industry.

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