Addition of acetate improves stability of power generation using microbial fuel cells treating domestic wastewater

Jennifer L. Stager, Xiaoyuan Zhang, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Power generation using microbial fuel cells (MFCs) must provide stable, continuous conversion of organic matter in wastewaters into electricity. However, when relatively small diameter (0.8 cm) graphite fiber brush anodes were placed close to the cathodes in MFCs, power generation was unstable during treatment of low strength domestic wastewater. One reactor produced 149 mW/m2 before power generation failed, while the other reactor produced 257 mW/m2, with both reactors exhibiting severe power overshoot in polarization tests. Using separators or activated carbon cathodes did not result in stable operation as the reactors continued to exhibit power overshoot based on polarization tests. However, adding acetate (1 g/L) to the wastewater produced stable performance during fed batch and continuous flow operation, and there was no power overshoot in polarization tests. These results highlight the importance of wastewater strength and brush anode size for producing stable and continuous power in compact MFCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalBioelectrochemistry
Volume118
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrochemistry

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