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Issue 33, 2013
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Implication of endogenous decay current and quantification of soluble microbial products (SMP) in microbial electrolysis cells

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Abstract

We designed a dual-chamber microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) which provided a large anode surface area against membrane surface area, but kept a short distance between the anode and the cathode. Current density ranged from 8.3 to 11 A m−2 of membrane surface area for chemical oxygen demand (COD) loading rate 0.3–6.3 kg COD/m3 d. Hydrogen recovery (from coulombs to H2) was as high as 93 ± 25% in the MEC, and hydrogen production rate ranged from 66.4 ± 18.0 to 137.2 ± 14.4 L H2/m2 d at an applied voltage of ∼1.2 V. As a result, H2 production costs were computed at $0.17–0.25/m3 H2 ($1.7–2.6/kg H2 at 25 °C and 1 atm) in the MEC using stainless steel mesh as the cathode. The MEC designed for maintaining high concentration of anode-respiring bacteria per membrane surface area generated 8.3 A m−2 of membrane area of which 57% was produced by endogenous decay of ARB under substrate deficient conditions. Soluble microbial products (SMP) were quantified for acetate-utilizing ARB in the MEC, and SMP fraction of influent COD was 23%. We separately measured biomass-associated products and utilization-associated products of SMP experimentally, which were 286 ± 100 mg L−1 and 59 ± 30 mg COD L−1, respectively.

Graphical abstract: Implication of endogenous decay current and quantification of soluble microbial products (SMP) in microbial electrolysis cells

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
07 Mar 2013
Accepted
15 May 2013
First published
16 May 2013

RSC Adv., 2013,3, 14021-14028
Article type
Paper

Implication of endogenous decay current and quantification of soluble microbial products (SMP) in microbial electrolysis cells

J. An and H. Lee, RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 14021
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA41116H

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