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Enhanced nitrogen removal in bio-electrochemical systems by pH control

TitleEnhanced nitrogen removal in bio-electrochemical systems by pH control
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsClauwaert P, Desloover J., Butler CS, Nerenberg R, Boon N., Verstraete W
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Start Page1537
Date Published10/2009
KeywordsBio-catalyzed cathode, Energy recovery, Microbial electrolysis cell, Microbial fuel cell, Wastewater

Microbial fuel cells can be designed to remove nitrogenous compounds out of wastewater, but their performance is at present limited to 0.33 kg NO(3) (-)-Nm(-3) net cathode compartment (NCC) d(-1). By maintaining the pH in the cathode at 7.2, nitrogen removal was increased from 0.22 to 0.50 kg NO(3) (-)-Nm(-3) NCC d(-1). Bio-electrochemical active microorganisms seem to struggle with the deterioration of their own environment due to slow proton fluxes. Therefore, the results suggest that an appropriate pH adjustment strategy is necessary to allow a sustained and enhanced biological activity in bio-electrochemical systems.