Reducing the burden of food processing washdown wastewaters using microbial fuel cells

Hitesh Boghani, Jung Rae Kim, Richard M. Dinsdale, Alan J. Guwy, Giuliano C. Premier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A tubular Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) reactor consisting of four modules (total reactor volume of 1 l) was fed with food processing washdown water as a chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal process to decrease effluent pollution levels and discharge costs. Two different operational modes were tested: (A) Under static electrical loads with substrate circulated to and from different storage vessels and (B) employing maximum peak power point tracking (MPPT) whilst re-circulating substrate through a single storage vessel. After 7 cycles through the reactor, notionally equivalent to 28 concatenated tubular MFC modules, 84% of the soluble COD (960 mg l−1) was removed from the effluent in Mode A and 70% (800 mg l−1) in Mode B with MPPT. In the study, acetic acid was consumed first and propionic acid increased initially before depletion after 7 cycles, showing that higher carbohydrates were degraded during the effluent polishing process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Engineering Journal
Issue numberPart A
Early online date22 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017


  • Anaerobic processes
  • Biodegradation
  • COD removal
  • Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC)
  • Scale-up
  • Waste-water treatment


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