Ambient CO2 capture and storage in bioelectrochemically mediated wastewater treatment

Zhe Huang, Daqian Jiang, Lu Lu, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study reports that wastewater can be used to capture and store CO2 directly from ambient air and produce energy. The proof-of-concept system consisted of an ion exchange resin column that captures and concentrates ambient CO2 using a moisture-driven cycle. The concentrated CO2 was then transferred into a microbial electrochemical carbon capture (MECC) reactor for carbon sequestration and hydrogen production. Data from an average batch cycle showed that approximately 8 mmol/L CO2 was captured in the MECC cathode when 0.14 g/L COD was removed in the anode. With 90% hydrogen conversion efficiency, the energy intensity and CO2 absorption from the process could be 11.3 kJ/gCOD and 0.49 gCO2/gCOD respectively. If the proposed process is applied, over 68 million tons of atmospheric CO2 can be captured yearly during wastewater treatment in the US, which equates to significant economic values if CO2 taxes were to be implemented more widely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-385
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Ambient CO capture
  • Carbonization
  • Microbial electrolysis
  • Microbial electrolytic carbon capture
  • Wastewater treatment


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