Archives of Industrial Biotechnology


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) as model bioelectrochemical waste water treatment systems.

John Logan

Organic substrate-containing wastewater from various industrial sources provides an essential foundation for generating bioenergy. The continual energy needs for aeration and sludge control make aerobic wastewater treatment techniques like the activated sludge process and trickling filters unsustainable. The Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology currently available allows for synchronised wastewater treatment, bioelectricity production, and resource recovery via bioelectrochemical remediation mediated by electroactive microbes. MFC technology is an appropriate alternative for energy positive wastewater treatment. The additional benefit of adopting MFC technology for effluent treatment is the ability to conduct many bio-based processes in the same bioreactor, including the removal of heavy metals, nitrification, denitrification, and the elimination of biochemical and chemical oxygen demand. In order to efficiently remove and recover sulphate, nitrogen, and phosphate without tertiary treatment, MFCs can thus both replace and supplement the traditional energy-intensive processes. The removal of organic and refractory pollutants from a variety of industrial and home effluents while producing affordable energy is covered in the current assessment of recent developments in the use of microbial fuel cell technology. This review also highlights hybrid systems that were created in conjunction with traditional treatment methods to make the process energy neutral and open the door to scalingup MFCs for environmentally friendly wastewater treatment.