An electrochemical process that uses an Fe0/TiO2 cathode to degrade typical dyes and antibiotics and a bio-anode that produces electricity

  • Chaojie Jiang
  • Lifen LiuEmail author
  • John C. Crittenden
Research Article


In this study, a new water treatment system that couples (photo-) electrochemical catalysis (PEC or EC) in a microbial fuel cell (MFC) was configured using a stainless-steel (SS) cathode coated with Fe0/TiO2. We examined the destruction of methylene blue (MB) and tetracycline. Fe0/TiO2 was prepared using a chemical reduction-deposition method and coated onto an SS wire mesh (500 mesh) using a sol technique. The anode generates electricity using microbes (bio-anode). Connected via wire and ohmic resistance, the system requires a short reaction time and operates at a low cost by effectively removing 94% MB (initial concentration 20 mg∙L–1) and 83% TOC/TOC0 under visible light illumination (50 W; 1.99 mW∙cm–2 for 120 min, MFC-PEC). The removal was similar even without light irradiation (MFC-EC). The E Eo of the MFC-PEC system was approximately 0.675 kWh∙m–3∙order–1, whereas that of the MFC-EC system was zero. The system was able to remove 70% COD in tetracycline solution (initial tetracycline concentration 100 mg∙L–1) after 120 min of visible light illumination; without light, the removal was 15% lower. The destruction of MB and tetracycline in both traditional photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis systems was notably low. The electron spinresonance spectroscopy (ESR) study demonstrated that ∙OH was formed under visible light, and ∙O 2 was formed without light. The bio-electricity-activated O2 and ROS (reactive oxidizing species) generation by Fe0/TiO2 effectively degraded the pollutants. This cathodic degradation improved the electricity generation by accepting and consuming more electrons from the bio-anode.


Bio-anode Photocatalytic cathode Fe0/TiO2 ESR Dye and antibiotics Advanced oxidation 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (Ministry of Education), School of Environmental Science and TechnologyDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina
  2. 2.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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