“NEW” resource recovery from wastewater using bioelectrochemical systems: Moving forward with functions

  • Akshay Jain
  • Zhen HeEmail author
Feature Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Column—Young Talents


Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) have been extensively studied for resource recovery from wastewater. By taking advantage of interactions between microorganisms and electrodes, BES can accomplish wastewater treatment while simultaneously recovering various resources including nutrients, energy and water (“NEW”). Despite much progress in laboratory studies, BES have not been advanced to practical applications. This paper aims to provide some subjective opinions and a concise discussion of several key challenges in BES-based resource recovery and help identify the potential application niches that may guide further technological development. In addition to further increasing recovery efficiency, it is also important to have more focus on the applications of the recovered resources such as how to use the harvested electricity and gaseous energy and how to separate the recovered nutrients in an energy-efficient way. A change in mindset for energy performance of BES is necessary to understand overall energy production and consumption. Scaling up BES can go through laboratory scale, transitional scale, and then pilot scale. Using functions as driving forces for BES research and development will better guide the investment of efforts.


Bioelectrochemical systems Resource recovery Wastewater treatment Energy Nutrients 



This work was supported by Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), Virginia Tech.


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© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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