Microbial Electrodialysis Cell for Simultaneous Water Desalination and Hydrogen Gas Production
KAUST Grant NumberKUS-I1-003-13
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AbstractA new approach to water desalination is to use exoelectrogenic bacteria to generate electrical power from the biodegradation of organic matter, moving charged ions from a middle chamber between two membranes in a type of microbial fuel cell called a microbial desalination cell. Desalination efficiency using this approach is limited by the voltage produced by the bacteria. Here we examine an alternative strategy based on boosting the voltage produced by the bacteria to achieve hydrogen gas evolution from the cathode using a three-chambered system we refer to as a microbial electrodialysis cell (MEDC). We examined the use of the MEDC process using two different initial NaCl concentrations of 5 g/L and 20 g/L. Conductivity in the desalination chamber was reduced by up to 68 ± 3% in a single fed-batch cycle, with electrical energy efficiencies reaching 231 ± 59%, and maximum hydrogen production rates of 0.16 ± 0.05 m3 H2/m3 d obtained at an applied voltage of 0.55 V. The advantage of this system compared to a microbial fuel cell approach is that the potentials between the electrodes can be better controlled, and the hydrogen gas that is produced can be used to recover energy to make the desalination process self-sustaining with respect to electrical power requirements. © 2010 American Chemical Society.
CitationMehanna M, Kiely PD, Call DF, Logan BE (2010) Microbial Electrodialysis Cell for Simultaneous Water Desalination and Hydrogen Gas Production. Environ Sci Technol 44: 9578–9583. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es1025646.
SponsorsThis research was supported by Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (D.F.C.), and the National Water Research Institute Ronald B. Linsky Fellowship (D.F.C.).
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)
CollectionsPublications Acknowledging KAUST Support
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