Optimization of a microbial fuel cell for wastewater treatment using recycled scrap metals as a cost-effective cathode material.Bioresour Technol. 2013 Jan; 127:158-64.BT
Microbial fuel cell (MFC) for wastewater treatment is still hindered by the prohibitive cost of cathode material, especially when platinum is used to catalyze oxygen reduction. In this study, recycled scrap metals could be used efficiently as cathode material in a specially-designed MFC. In terms of raw power, the scrap metals ranked as follows: W/Co > Cu/Ni > Inconel 718 > carpenter alloy; however, in terms of cost and long term stability, Inconel 718 was the preferred choice. Treatment performance--assessed on real and synthetic wastewater--was considerably improved either by filling the anode compartment with carbon granules or by operating the MFC in full-loop mode. The latter option allowed reaching 99.7% acetate removal while generating a maximum power of 36 W m(-3) at an acetate concentration of 2535 mg L(-1). Under these conditions, the energy produced by the system averaged 0.1 kWh m(-3) of wastewater treated.