Microbial Reverse Electrodialysis Cells for Synergistically Enhanced Power Production
KAUST Grant NumberKUS-I1-003-13
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AbstractA 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 <2% of the produced power. A higher flow rate (1.55 mL/min) increased power densities up to 4.3 W/m2. COD removal was 98% with a Coulombic efficiency of 64%. Power production by the individual components was substantially lower with 0.7 W/m2 without salinity driven energy, and <0.015 W/m2 with reduced exoelectrogenic activity due to substrate depletion. These results show that the combination of an MFC and a RED stack synergistically increases performance relative to the individual systems, producing a new type of system that can be used to more efficiently capture salinity driven energy from seawater and river water. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
CitationKim Y, Logan BE (2011) Microbial Reverse Electrodialysis Cells for Synergistically Enhanced Power Production. Environ Sci Technol 45: 5834–5839. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es200979b.
SponsorsThis research was supported by funding through the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Award KUS-I1-003-13).
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)
CollectionsPublications Acknowledging KAUST Support
- Series assembly of microbial desalination cells containing stacked electrodialysis cells for partial or complete seawater desalination.
- Authors: Kim Y, Logan BE
- Issue date: 2011 Jul 1
- Minimal RED cell pairs markedly improve electrode kinetics and power production in microbial reverse electrodialysis cells.
- Authors: Cusick RD, Hatzell M, Zhang F, Logan BE
- Issue date: 2013 Dec 17
- Microbial electrodialysis cell for simultaneous water desalination and hydrogen gas production.
- Authors: Mehanna M, Kiely PD, Call DF, Logan BE
- Issue date: 2010 Dec 15
- Energy capture from thermolytic solutions in microbial reverse-electrodialysis cells.
- Authors: Cusick RD, Kim Y, Logan BE
- Issue date: 2012 Mar 23
- Electrical power from sea and river water by reverse electrodialysis: a first step from the laboratory to a real power plant.
- Authors: Veerman J, Saakes M, Metz SJ, Harmsen GJ
- Issue date: 2010 Dec 1