Simultaneous energy production and desalination in microbial electrochemical systems

Haiping Luo, Casey Forrestal, Peter Jenkins, Zhiyong J. Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Microbial electrochemical cells (MECs) enable microbial catalysis of electrochemical reactions for various applications. Here we investigated an integrated MEC to simultaneously desalinate salt water, produce H2, and treat wastewater. The reactor is divided into three: chambers by inserting a pair of ion exchange membranes, with each chamber serves one of the three functions. With an added voltage of 0.8V, lab scale batch study shows the MEC achieved the highest H2 production rate of 1.5 m3/m3 d, while also removing 98.8% of the 10 g/L NaCl. The anode recirculation further increased the current density from 87.2 to 140 A/m3 and improved desalination rate by 80% and H2 production by 30%. Compared to the desalination efficiency, H2 production was much more significantly affected by the applied voltage and cathode buffer capacity. Microbial community structure of the anodic biofilms is being analyzed to explore the effect of ions migration on the microbial population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event241st ACS National Meeting and Exposition - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 27 2011Mar 31 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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