Microbial Reverse Electrodialysis Cells for Synergistically Enhanced Power Production

Younggy Kim, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations

Abstract

A new type of bioelectrochemical system for producing electrical power, called a microbial reverse-electrodialysis cell (MRC), was developed to increase voltages and power densities compared to those generated individually by microbial fuel cells (MFCs) or reverse electrodialysis (RED) systems. In RED systems, electrode overpotentials create significant energy losses due to thermodynamically unfavorable electrode reactions, and therefore a large number of stacked cells must be used to have significant energy recovery. This results in high capital costs for the large number of membranes, and increases energy losses from pumping water through a large number of cells. In an MRC, high overpotentials are avoided through oxidation of organic matter by exoelectrogenic bacteria on the anode and oxygen reduction on the cathode. An MRC containing only five pairs of RED cells, fed solutions typical of seawater (600 mM NaCl) and river water (12 mM NaCl) at 0.85 mL/min, produced up to 3.6 W/m2 (cathode surface area) and 1.2-1.3 V with acetate as a substrate. Pumping accounted for
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5834-5839
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume45
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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