- To develop a lab-scale prototype of Single-Chamber MFC to explore the possibility of usage of Carbon Nano Tubes (CNT) based anodes in the treatment of domestic wastewater for dual purposes:
- for wastewater treatment, and for bioelectricity production.
- To evaluate the potential of electricity generation through MFC from domestic wastewater in typical Pakistani conditions.
Supervisor Name: Dr. Rasool Bux Mahar, Professor, USPCAS-W, MUET, Jamshoro
Treatment of wastewater by using Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) have been proven as a promising but challenging technology so far. Researchers are coming up with different techniques every time to overcome the bottle necks in this technology. One of the current issues is fouling of the electrodes which is hindering higher power generation and its commercialization. Depositions on electrodes reduce the working efficiency of the cell. In such cases, material selection of electrodes plays a significant role. The electrodes must be low-priced, non-corrodible, reliable and reusable. This research deals with the designing and fabrication of a single chamber MFC with an inexpensive, recyclable material (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene substrate (ABS) used as anode to treat the domestic wastewater. Activated carbon air-cathode was used where a biofilm was developed.
The current and voltage across the cell were measured by a data acquisition model. The efficiency of the fabricated single chamber MFC was checked by measuring the instantaneous Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and power generation with the utilization of organics in the wastewater. A current density of 89.74 mA/m2 and power density of 2.75 m W/m2 was produced in a single-chamber microbial fuel cell having a hydraulic retention time of 37.6 hours. The COD reduction varied from 58.7% to 60.5% which proved the existence of exoelectrogens in the domestic wastewater. These bacteria can be identified and used as inoculum in future studies to obtain high COD removal rate treating the same domestic wastewater.
The experimental results also showed the successful application of carbon nanotube-based conductive paint polymer support as anode in treating the domestic wastewater. However, the performance decreased gradually due to the deposition of inorganics on the cathode which could be studied further in future along with design of this new anode to maximize the surface area for microbial colonization and to obtain more power output.