In-situ biofilm removal from air cathodes in microbial fuel cells treating domestic wastewater
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  • Author:
    Ruggero Rossi, Wulin Yang, Emily Zikmund, Deepak Pant, Bruce E. Logan
  • Abstract:

    One challenge in using microbial fuel cells (MFCs) for wastewater treatment is the reduction in performance over time due to cathode fouling.

    An in-situ technique was developed to clean air cathodes using magnets on either side of the electrode, with the air-side magnet moved to clean the water-side magnet by scraping off the biofilm. The power output of the magnet-cleaned cathodes after one month of operation was 132 ± 7 mW m–2, which was 42% higher than the controls with no magnet (93 ± 4 mW m–2) (no separator, NS), and 110% higher (116 ± 4 mW m–2) than controls with separators (Sp, 55 ± 7 mW m–2). Cleaning cathodes using magnets reduced the biofilm by 75% (NS) and 28% (Sp).

    The in-situ cleaning technique thus improved the performance of the MFC over time by reducing biofouling due to biofilm formation on the air cathodes.

  • Journal:
    Bioresource Technology
  • Publisher:
    Elsevier
  • Volume (Issue):
    265
  • Page:
    200-206
  • Sector:
    Sustainability    Energy Storage   
  • Publication Type:
    Research Article
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