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Electricity generation and struvite recovery from human urine using microbial fuel cells

You, Jiseon; Greenman, John; Melhuish, Chris; Ieropoulos, Ioannis

Authors

Jiseon You Jiseon.You@uwe.ac.uk
Research Fellow - Bristol BioEnergy Centre

Chris Melhuish Chris.Melhuish@uwe.ac.uk
AVC - Advanced Technologies & Professor of Robotics & Autonomous Systems



Abstract

BACKGROUND: Urine is an abundant waste product which requires energy intensive treatment processes in modern wastewater treatment plants. However urine can be utilised as fertiliser in the form of struvite. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a promising technology for treating waste while producing electricity. Combining these two approaches, a 3-stage MFC/struvite extraction process system was developed and its feasibility tested in order to maximise urine utilisation in terms of electricity generation and struvite recovery.

RESULTS: In the first stage, while generating electrical energy, MFCs accelerated urea hydrolysis, which was beneficial for the struvite precipitation process in the following stage. After collecting struvite by adding magnesium into the initial effluent, the supernatant was used at the final stage for additional power and more efficient COD reduction. In total, 82% of PO43--P and 20% of COD of undiluted human urine were removed by the 3-stage system. Also 14.32 W m-3 (absolute power: 358 μW) and 11.76Wm-3 (absolute power: 294μW) of power was produced from the 1st and 3rd stages of the system, respectively, during operation.

CONCLUSION: This work shows how MFCs and struvite precipitation could be integrated for both energy generation and resource recovery from urine, leading to a more sustainable energy future.

Citation

You, J., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C., & Ieropoulos, I. (2016). Electricity generation and struvite recovery from human urine using microbial fuel cells. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 91(3), 647-654. https://doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4617

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Dec 16, 2014
Publication Date Mar 1, 2016
Journal Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Print ISSN 0268-2575
Electronic ISSN 1097-4660
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 91
Issue 3
Pages 647-654
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4617
Keywords microbial fuel cells, struvite, source-separated urine, resource recovery
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/913262
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4617
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: You, J., Greenman, J., Melhuish, C. and Ieropoulos, I. (2015) Electricity generation and struvite recovery from human urine using microbial fuel cells. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology. ISSN 0268-2575, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4617. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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