A conductive wood membrane anode improves effluent quality of microbial fuel cells

Zhe Huang, Amy Gong, Dianxun Hou, Liangbing Hu, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology demonstrates good potential for recovering energy from wastewater, but it has been insufficient to act as a stand-alone treatment solution because its poor effluent quality cannot meet discharge standards. This study presents a new wood-based membrane anode for MFCs, which greatly improved the removal efficiencies for chemical oxygen demand (95-97%), total nitrogen (85-91%), and total phosphorus (89-93%) from wastewater compared with a traditional carbon cloth anode. The effluent quality from the wood-anode MFC was in compliance with wastewater effluent discharge standards. Similar power outputs were obtained from MFCs equipped with different anodes (248-295 mW m-2), and no significant fouling was observed on the membrane anode. The long and well-aligned channels in the wood anode have high surface area, which allows cell acclimation without blocking water flow. The wood filtration anode enables MFCs to become a stand-alone technology for energy-efficient wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)940-946
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science: Water Research and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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