Photomicrobial fuel cell (PFC) for simultaneous organic carbon, nutrients removal and energy production

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    A sediment-type photomicrobial fuel cell (PFC), based on the synergistic interaction between microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris) and electrochemically active bacteria, was developed to remove carbon and nutrients from wastewater, and produce electricity and algal biomass simultaneously. Under illumination, stable power density of 68±5 mW/m2 and biomass of 0.56±0.02 g/L were generated at initial algae concentration of 3.5 g/L. Accordingly, the removal efficiency of organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus was 99.6%, 87.6% and 69.8%, respectively. Mass balance analysis suggested the main removal mechanism of nitrogen and phosphorus was algae biomass uptake (75% and 93%, respectively), while nitrification and denitrification process contributed to part of nitrogen removal (22%). In addition, the effect of illumination period on the performance of PFC was investigated. Except notable fluctuation of power generation, carbon and nutrients removal was not significantly affected after changing the light/dark photoperiod from 24 h/0 h to 10 h/14 h. This work represents the first successful attempt to develop an effective bacteria-algae coupled system, capable for extracting energy and removing carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater in one-step.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Algal Biorefinery
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event2nd International Conference on Algal Biorefinery: A potential source of food, feed, biochemicals, biofuels and biofertilizers - DTU, Lyngby, Denmark
    Duration: 27 Aug 201429 Aug 2014
    Conference number: 2


    Conference2nd International Conference on Algal Biorefinery


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