The low conductivity and alkalinity in municipal wastewater significantly limit power production from microbial fuel cells (MFCs). This study integrated desalination with wastewater treatment and electricity production in a microbial desalination cell (MDC) by utilizing the mutual benefits among the above functions. When using wastewater as the sole substrate, the power output from the MDC (8.01W/m 3) was four times higher than a control MFC without desalination function. In addition, the MDC removed 66% of the salts and improved COD removal by 52% and Coulombic efficiency by 131%. Desalination in MDCs improved wastewater characteristics by increasing the conductivity by 2.5 times and stabilizing anolyte pH, which therefore reduced system resistance and maintained microbial activity. Microbial community analysis revealed a more diverse anode microbial structure in the MDC than in the MFC. The results demonstrated that MDC can serve as a viable option for integrated wastewater treatment, energy production, and desalination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Electricity production
- Microbial desalination cell
- Microbial fuel cell