Simultaneous energy generation and UV quencher removal from landfill leachate using a microbial fuel cell
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The presence of UV quenching compounds in landfill leachate can negatively affect UV disinfection in a wastewater treatment plant when leachate is co-treated. Herein, a microbial fuel cell (MFC) was investigated to remove UV quenchers from a landfill leachate with simultaneous bioelectricity generation. The key operating parameters including hydraulic retention time (HRT), anolyte recirculation rate, and external resistance were systematically studied to maximize energy recovery and UV absorbance reduction. It was found that nearly 50% UV absorbance was reduced under a condition of HRT 40 days, continuous anolyte recirculation, and 10 Ω external resistance. Further analysis showed a total reduction of organics by 75.3%, including the reduction of humic acids, fulvic acids, and hydrophilic fraction concentration as TOC. The MFC consumed 0.056 kWh m−3 by its pump system for recirculation and oxygen supply. A reduced HRT of 20 days with periodical anode recirculation (1 hour in every 24 hours) and 39 Ω external resistance (equal to the internal resistance of the MFC) resulted in the highest net energy of 0.123 kWh m−3. Granular activated carbon (GAC) was used as an effective post-treatment step and could achieve 89.1% UV absorbance reduction with 40 g L−1. The combined MFC and GAC treatment could reduce 92.9% of the UV absorbance and remove 89.7% of the UV quenchers. The results of this study would encourage further exploration of using MFCs as an energy-efficient method for removing UV quenchers from landfill leachate.
KeywordsLandfill leachate UV absorbance UV quenchers Energy production Microbial fuel cell
This work was financially supported by a grant from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation. The authors would like to thank Mr. Melvin Wyatt (Waste Management, Inc.) for his help with leachate collection.
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