Scale-up of MFC's for wastewater treatment

Wasterwater treatment and laboratory

Recent research using domestic wastewater has revealed the potential for application into the water industry, where wastewater can be treated at the same time as power is generated.

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) harness electrons from the metabolic reactions of microorganisms to generate an electrical current. The microbes utilise organic material in the medium and successful power generation has been achieved using a range of sources including; acetate, dead flies and domestic wastewater.

Microbial fuel cells in water-treatment plant

There is already a solid platform of microbial fuel cell research in place at Bristol Robotics Laboratory and this project will utilise the technology and look to develop further with the specific aim of wastewater treatment.

This research venture aims to develop a continuous flow MFC system capable of long-term use in a water-treatment plant.

This development will look at optimising the architectural design, the operational parameters and the selection of efficient robust microbial consortia capable of metabolising the target compounds present in effluent samples.

Wastewater is heterogeneous and will vary in organic content from location to location. In addition the organisms environment will differ depending on where the MFC system operates and so it may transpire that microbial consortia need to be customised to reflect the conditions they work in and organic components they encounter.

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Bristol BioEnergy Centre
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol, BS16 1QY

Page last updated 12 May 2016