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Bioelectricity generation from brewery wastewater in a microbial fuel cell using chitosan/biodegradable copolymer membrane

Abstract

Wastewater treatment with bioelectrical generation is an attractive feature with microbial fuel cells. The chitosan/biodegradable copolymer proton exchange membrane was used to assess its performance with brewery wastewater in a dual chambered microbial fuel cell. The biodegradable copolymer was made by thermal condensation of malic acid and citric acid in 3:1 ratio and then blended with chitosan to form a membrane via solution casting and solvent evaporation techniques. The performance of the chitosan/biodegradable copolymer membrane was evaluated in bioelectricity production with brewery effluent as an anolyte in a carbon electrode microbial fuel cell. Additionally, the competence of the prepared blend proton exchange membrane is compared with the commercial Nafion 117 membrane and Agar salt bridge in separate microbial fuel cell units with the same effluent and electrodes. At neutral pH, the effect of adding metabolites such as glucose and acetate to the anolyte was also investigated. The maximum current density and power density generated with chitosan/biodegradable copolymer membrane was 111.94 mA m−2 and 3022.39 mW m−2, respectively, whereas the Nafion 117 membrane had a maximum current density of 120.23 mA m−2 and power density of 3486.73 mW m−2.

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Acknowledgements

Authors are thankful to the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus for providing study and travel grants for conducting characterization studies of the membranes.

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Correspondence to S. R. Popuri.

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Editorial responsibility: M. Abbaspour.

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Harewood, A.J.T., Popuri, S.R., Cadogan, E.I. et al. Bioelectricity generation from brewery wastewater in a microbial fuel cell using chitosan/biodegradable copolymer membrane. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 14, 1535–1550 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-017-1258-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-017-1258-6

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