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Performance of pilot-scale microbial fuel cells treating wastewater with associated bioenergy production in the Caribbean context

Tota-Maharaj, Kiran; Paul, Parneet


Kiran Tota-Maharaj

Parneet Paul


© 2015, The Author(s). Microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology represents a form of renewable energy that generates bioelectricity from what would otherwise be considered a waste stream. MFCs may be ideally suited to the small island developing state (SIDS) context, such as Trinidad and Tobago where seawater as the main electrolyte is readily available, and economically renewable and sustainable electricity is also deemed a priority. Hence this project tested two identical laboratory-scaled MFC systems that were specifically designed and developed for the Caribbean regional context. They consisted of two separate chambers: an anaerobic anodic chamber inoculated with wastewater and an aerobic cathodic chamber separated by a proton exchange membrane. Domestic wastewater from two various wastewater treatment plants inflow (after screening) was placed into the anodic chamber, and seawater from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Paria placed into the cathodic chambers, respectively, with the bacteria present in the wastewater attached to the anode. Experimental results demonstrated that the bacterial degradation of the wastewaters as substrate induced an electron flow through the electrodes producing bioelectricity whilst simultaneously reducing the organic matter as biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand by 30 to 75%. The average bioenergy output for both systems was 84 and 96mW/m2, respectively. This study demonstrated the potential for simultaneous bioenergy production and wastewater treatment in the SIDS context.


Tota-Maharaj, K., & Paul, P. (2015). Performance of pilot-scale microbial fuel cells treating wastewater with associated bioenergy production in the Caribbean context. International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering, 6(3), 213-220.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 8, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2015
Publication Date Sep 3, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 16, 2019
Journal International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering
Print ISSN 2251-6832
Electronic ISSN 2251-6832
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 3
Pages 213-220
Keywords General Energy; Environmental Engineering
Public URL
Publisher URL


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