(724e) Microbial Fuel Cells for Production of Biopower and Bioproducts
Methods/Objectives: Performance of MFCs is heavily dependent upon the configuration of the electrode, the medium for external electron transfer. The main focus of this research is determining how performance is impacted by modifying the electrode configuration in a two-chamber MFC. Modifications of the electrodes involve adding granular activated carbon (GAC) to increase the electrodesâ surface area. The effect of the electrode modification on bioelectricity output, lipid production, useful biogas emissions, and wastewater treatment effectiveness was determined. Glucose was used as the contaminant-representative in the synthetic wastewater. Liquid samples were periodically taken during the performance of the experiments to determine the concentration of residual contaminants.
Results: The results of the study showed that electrode modifications significantly affect biopower, biogas, and lipid production. The treatment effectiveness was also affected as indicated by residual glucose and organic acids remaining in both chambers. In the initial stages of the experimental runs, MFC with electrodes of equal surface areas (unmodified and modified) showed the highest biopower production. However, towards the end of the 14-day run, the MFC with GAC-modified cathode resulted in higher voltage output. Anaerobic chamber with GAC-modified electrode tend to have lower treatment effectiveness than those with unmodified electrodes as indicated by higher residual glucose and remaining organic acids after the 14-day experiment. For all the experimental runs, most of the gases from anaerobic chamber were produced during the first 5 days of fermentation, after which production ceased (except for CO2) indicating microbial viability for the duration of the runs. The biomass concentration in the aerobic chamber were lowest for GAC-modified cathodes. In terms of lipid productivity, the lowest concentrations of lipids were also observed in GAC-modified cathodes.
Conclusions: Simultaneous biopower and bioproduct production from MFC can be accomplished using a two-chamber configuration. The modifications of the MFC electrodes using GAC suggest the process can be used to tailor specifically to biopower, lipids or treatment effectiveness. MFCs with unequal electrode surface areas show excellent biopower production, but choosing which chamber to modify ultimately depends on other desired bioproducts and run time. GAC-modified cathodes effectively treat wastewater in seven days with an ending lipid concentration of 1.7 g/L. In contrast, GAC-modified anodes do not quite fully treat wastewater after 14 days, but should have more sustained power production as a result.
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