Application of Bioelectrochemical Process (BES) for Electricity Generation and Sustainable Wastewater Treatment

  • Jung Rae Kim
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Physics book series (SPPHY, volume 135)


Bioelectrochemical system such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cell are an emerging technology which converts biodegradable organic matter to electrical energy or hydrogen using a biofilm on the electrode as the biocatalyst. It has recently been shown that waste-to-energy technology based on MFC can treat organic contaminant in domestic or industrial wastewater and simultaneously produce electricity. The maximum power density increased up to 1kW/m3 based on reactor volume. Bioelectrochemical systems may reduce the energy consumption for wastewater treatment by replacing energy intensive aeration of present treatment systems, while generate electrical energy from waste. In addition, the biomass production in MFCs has been reported to be 10-50% of conventional wastewater treatment, leading to reduce environmental impact and disposal costs. Various electrochemically active bacteria metabolize biodegradable organic compounds then discharge electrons to an extracellular electron acceptor for bacterial respiration. These bacteria also transfer electrons to electrodes by direct electron transfer, electron mediators or shuttles, and electrically conductive nanowires. Investigation of bacterial electron transport mechanisms may improve understanding of the biomaterial involved and metabolic pathways as well as improving power from MFCs. Biofuel cell systems require interdisciplinary research ranging from electrochemistry, microbiology, material science and surface chemistry to engineering such as reactor design, operation and modelling. Collaboration within each study and integration of systems might increase the performance and feasibility of BES process for sustainable energy.


Anaerobic Digestion Microbial Fuel Cell Direct Electron Transfer Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Maximum Power Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jung Rae Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainable Environment Research Centre, Faculty of Advanced TechnologyUniversity of GlamorganPntryridd, Mid-GlamorganUnited Kingdom

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