Electricity generation from fermented primary sludge using single-chamber air-cathode microbial fuel cells

Fei Yang, Lijiao Ren, Yuepu Pu, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Single-chamber air-cathode microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were used to generate electricity from fermented primary sludge. Fermentation (30°C, 9days) decreased total suspended solids (26.1-16.5g/L), volatile suspended solids (24.1-15.3g/L) and pH (5.7-4.5), and increased conductivity (2.4-4.7mS/cm), soluble COD (2.66-15.5g/L), and volatile fatty acids (1.9-10.1g/L). To lower the COD and increase pH, fermentation supernatant was diluted with primary effluent before being used in the MFCs. The maximum power density was 0.32±0.01W/m2, compared to 0.24±0.03W/m2 with only primary effluent. Power densities were higher with phosphate buffer added to the supernatant (1.03±0.06W/m2) or the solution (0.87±0.05W/m2). Coulombic efficiencies ranged from 18% to 57%, and sCOD removals from 84% to 94%. These results demonstrated that sludge can effectively be used for power generation when fermented and then diluted with only primary effluent. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-787
Number of pages4
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: We thank Fang Zhang and Yong Luo for advice on MFC configurations, and David Jones and Xiuping Zhu for their help on VFAs measurements. This work was supported by Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and Jiangsu Province Graduate Innovation Project (CX10B-087Z).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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