Evaluating the efficiency of a mixed culture biofilm for the treatment of black liquor and molasses in a mediator-less microbial fuel cell.Environ Technol. 2016 Nov; 37(22):2815-22.ET
A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is an emerging environment-friendly technology to recover the useful energy available in waste by using microorganisms as catalyst. In this study, double chamber mediator-less MFCs separated by proton exchange membrane (PEM; Nafion) were constructed to determine the efficiency of mixed culture in using complex substrates (molasses and black liquor). It was found that activated sludge can serve as efficient source of electricigens for biofilm development on an anode. Power density of 2.425 W/m² was generated from molasses with chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency of 67% as compared to power density of 3.55 W/m² produced from black liquor along with COD removal efficiency of 78%. Moreover, it was demonstrated that surface area of PEM has a significant effect on power generation. An almost 5- to 8-fold increase in voltage was observed as the size of PEM was increased from 6.5 to 25 cm².