Microbial fuel cells and osmotic membrane bioreactors have mutual benefits for wastewater treatment and energy production

Dianxun Hou, Lu Lu, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study demonstrates that microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and osmotic membrane bioreactors (OMBRs) can be mutually beneficial when integrated together for wastewater treatment. When connecting MFCs with OMBRs, the solute buildup increased conductivity and buffer capacity, which greatly increased MFC power density from 3 W/m3 up to 11.5 W/m3. In turn, the MFCs conditioned and reduced sludge production and therefore reduced forward osmosis (FO) membrane fouling. The MFC-OMBR equipped with new thin-film composite (TFC) membrane showed excellent organic (>95%) and phosphorus removal (>99%) and therefore maintained effluent sCOD below 20 mg/L. However, the nitrogen removal was limited due to the negative surface charge of the thin-film composite membrane and solution chemistry, which led to higher flux of ammonium toward the OMBR draw solution. Further studies are needed to improve nitrogen removal, reduce fouling, and optimize system integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalWater Research
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Keywords

  • Forward osmosis
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Osmotic membrane bioreactor
  • Thin-film composite membrane

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