Performance of a continuous flow microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) fed with domestic wastewater

A Escapa, L Gil-Carrera, V García, A Morán

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72 Scopus citations


In this study, MEC performance was investigated in terms of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, hydrogen production rate and energy consumption during continuous domestic wastewater (dWW) treatment at different organic loading rates (OLR) and applied voltages (Vapp). While the COD removal efficiency was improved at low OLRs, the electrical energy required to remove 1g of COD was significantly increased with decreasing the OLR. Hydrogen production exhibited a Monod-type trend as function of the OLR reaching a maximum production rate of 0.30 L/(Lrd). Optimal Vapp was found to be highly dependent on the strength of the dWW. The results also confirmed the fact that MEC performance can be optimized by setting Vapp at the onset potential of the diffusion control region. Although low columbic efficiencies and the occurrence of hydrogen recycling limited significantly the reactor performance, these results demonstrate that MEC can be successfully used for dWW treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Bioelectric Energy Sources/microbiology
  • Biological Oxygen Demand Analysis
  • Bioreactors/microbiology
  • Electricity
  • Electrochemical Techniques
  • Family Characteristics
  • Hydrogen/metabolism
  • Oxygen/metabolism
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rheology/instrumentation
  • Thermodynamics
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid


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