Author(s): Kokabian B, Gude VG
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Abstract Current microbial desalination cell (MDC) performances are evaluated with chemical catalysts such as ferricyanide, platinum catalyzed air-cathodes or aerated cathodes. All of these methods improve power generation potential in MDCs, however, they are not preferable for large scale applications due to cost, energy and environmental toxicity issues. In this study, performance of microbial desalination cells with an air cathode and an algae biocathode (Photosynthetic MDC - PMDC) were evaluated, both under passive conditions (no mechanical aeration or mixing). The results indicate that passive algae biocathodes perform better than air cathodes and enhance COD removal and utilize treated wastewater as the growth medium to obtain valuable biomass for high value bioproducts. Maximum power densities of 84 mW m(-3) (anode volume) or 151 mW m(-3) (biocathode volume) and a desalination rate of 40\% were measured with 0.9 : 1 : 0.5 volumetric ratios of anode, desalination and algae biocathode chambers respectively. This first proof-of-concept study proves that the passive mechanisms can be beneficial in enhancing the sustainability of microbial desalination cells.
This article was published in Environ Sci Process Impacts
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology