Minimal RED Cell Pairs Markedly Improve Electrode Kinetics and Power Production in Microbial Reverse Electrodialysis Cells

Type
Article

Authors
Cusick, Roland D.
Hatzell, Marta
Zhang, Fang
Logan, Bruce E.

KAUST Grant Number
KUS-I1-003-13

Online Publication Date
2013-11-21

Print Publication Date
2013-12-17

Date
2013-11-21

Abstract
Power production from microbial reverse electrodialysis cell (MRC) electrodes is substantially improved compared to microbial fuel cells (MFCs) by using ammonium bicarbonate (AmB) solutions in multiple RED cell pair stacks and the cathode chamber. Reducing the number of RED membranes pairs while maintaining enhanced electrode performance could help to reduce capital costs. We show here that using only a single RED cell pair (CP), created by operating the cathode in concentrated AmB, dramatically increased power production normalized to cathode area from both acetate (Acetate: from 0.9 to 3.1 W/m 2-cat) and wastewater (WW: 0.3 to 1.7 W/m2), by reducing solution and charge transfer resistances at the cathode. A second RED cell pair increased RED stack potential and reduced anode charge transfer resistance, further increasing power production (Acetate: 4.2 W/m2; WW: 1.9 W/m2). By maintaining near optimal electrode power production with fewer membranes, power densities normalized to total membrane area for the 1-CP (Acetate: 3.1 W/m2-mem; WW: 1.7 W/m2) and 2-CP (Acetate: 1.3 W/m2-mem; WW: 0.6 W/m2) reactors were much higher than previous MRCs (0.3-0.5 W/m2-mem with acetate). While operating at peak power, the rate of wastewater COD removal, normalized to reactor volume, was 30-50 times higher in 1-CP and 2-CP MRCs than that in a single chamber MFC. These findings show that even a single cell pair AmB RED stack can significantly enhance electrical power production and wastewater treatment. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Citation
Cusick RD, Hatzell M, Zhang F, Logan BE (2013) Minimal RED Cell Pairs Markedly Improve Electrode Kinetics and Power Production in Microbial Reverse Electrodialysis Cells. Environ Sci Technol 47: 14518–14524. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es4037995.

Acknowledgements
This research was supported by Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Publisher
American Chemical Society (ACS)

Journal
Environmental Science & Technology

DOI
10.1021/es4037995

PubMed ID
24224718

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