Assisting cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms by microbial fuel cells to enhance nutrients recovery from wastewater
  • Author:
    Alessandra Colombo, Stefania Marzorati, Giorgio Lucchini, Pierangela Cristiani, Deepak Pant, Andrea Schievano
  • Abstract:

    Spirulina was cultivated in cathodic compartments of photo-microbial fuel cells (P-MFC). Anodic compartments were fed with swine-farming wastewater, enriched with sodium acetate (2.34 gCOD L−1). Photosynthetic oxygen generation rates were sufficient to sustain cathodic oxygen reduction, significantly improving P-MFC electrochemical performances, as compared to water-cathode control experiments. Power densities (0.8–1 W m−2) approached those of air-cathode MFCs, run as control.

    COD was efficiently removed and only negligible fractions leaked to the cathodic chamber. Spirulina growth rates were comparable to those of control (MFC-free) cultures, while pH was significantly (0.5–1 unit) higher in P-MFCs, due to cathodic reactions. Alkaliphilic photosynthetic microorganisms like Spirulinamight take advantage of these selective conditions. Electro-migration along with diffusion to the cathodic compartment concurred for the recovery of most nutrients. Only P and Mg were retained in the anodic chamber.

    A deeper look into electro-osmotic mechanisms should be addressed in future studies.

  • Journal:
    Bioresource Technology
  • Publisher:
  • Volume (Issue):
  • Page:
  • Sector:
    Sustainability    Energy Storage   
  • Publication Type:
    Research Article
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