Increased power generation from primary sludge by a submersible microbial fuel cell and optimum operational conditions

Valentina Vologni, Ramesh Kakarla, Irini Angelidaki, Booki Min

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have received attention as a promising renewable energy technology for waste treatment and energy recovery. We tested a submersible MFC with an innovative design capable of generating a stable voltage of 0.250 ± 0.008 V (with a fixed 470 Ω resistor) directly from primary sludge. In a polarization test, the maximum power density was 0.18 W/m2 at a current density of 0.8 A/m2 with an external resistor of 300 Ω. The anodic solution of the primary sludge needs to be adjusted to a pH 7 for high power generation. The modified primary sludge with an added phosphate buffer prolonged the current generation and increased the power density by 7 and 1.5 times, respectively, in comparison with raw primary sludge. These findings suggest that energy recovery from primary sludge can be maximized using an advanced MFC system with optimum conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)635-642
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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