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Bimodal electricity generation and aromatic compounds removal from purified terephthalic acid plant wastewater in a microbial fuel cell


Wastewater of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) from a petrochemical plant was examined in a membrane-less single chamber microbial fuel cell for the first time. Time course of voltage during the cell operation cycle had two steady phases, which refers to the fact that metabolism of microorganisms was shifted from highly to less biodegradable carbon sources. The produced power density was 31.8 mW m−2 (normalized per cathode area) and the calculated coulombic efficiency was 2.05 % for a COD removal of 74 % during 21 days. The total removal rate of different pollutants in the PTA wastewater was observed in the following order: (acetic acid) > (benzoic acid) > (phthalic acid) > (terephthalic acid) > (p-toluic acid). The cyclic voltammetry results revealed that the electron transfer mechanism was dominated by mediators which were produced by bacteria.

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Authors would like to thank Iran National Science Foundation (INSF) and research office of Sharif University of Technology for their financial support.

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Correspondence to Hamid-Reza Kariminia.

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Marashi, S.K.F., Kariminia, HR. & Savizi, I.S.P. Bimodal electricity generation and aromatic compounds removal from purified terephthalic acid plant wastewater in a microbial fuel cell. Biotechnol Lett 35, 197–203 (2013).

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