Shipboard bilge water treatment by electrocoagulation powered by microbial fuel cells

Xiaoxue Mei, Heming Wang, Dianxun Hou, Fernanda Leite Lobo, Defeng Xing, Zhiyong Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ships generate large amounts of wastewater including oily bilge water, blackwater and greywater. Traditionally they are treated separately with high energy consumption. In this study we demonstrate the feasibility that these waste streams can be treated using an integrated electrocoagulation cell (ECC) and microbial fuel cell (MFC) process, which not only synergized the contaminants removal but also accomplished energy neutrality by directly powering EC with MFC electricity. Results showed that MFC stack powered ECC removed 93% of oily organics, which is comparable to the performance of an external DC voltage powered ECC. In the meantime, more than 80% of COD was removed from MFCs when fed with either acetate or municipal wastewater. Moreover, the ECC electrode area and distance showed notable effects on current generation and contaminants removal, and further studies should focus on operation optimization to enhance treatment efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science


  • Bilge water
  • Electrocoagulation
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Shipboard wastewater


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