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Single Chamber Microbial Fuel Cells (SCMFCs) treating human urine

pubblicazioni - Presentazione

Single Chamber Microbial Fuel Cells (SCMFCs) treating human urine

The MFC is a promising bio-technology capable of generating electricity from organic compound degradation. Human urine contains a wide range of organic compounds and is it has been shown to be a good fuel for MFCs [1]. This study employed SCMFCs to treat human urine and improve power generation. Moreover the behavior of pH, solution conductivity, and chemical species was examined over the operational period to better understand the degradation of human urine in SCMFCs. Results showed that pH in the SCMFCs increased from initially 5.5 to 9.0 over time, due to urine hydrolysis [2]. The initial solution conductivity ranged between 8-20 mS/cm, which increased to 60 mS/cm after 1 day probably due to the degradation of urea and the formation of ions in the solution. Peak power (100 mW/m2) was normally produced when urine was added fresh, and then gradually degraded following urine utilization. Linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) showed a decrease in the anodic performance over time due to the significant increase in pH and an increase in the cathodic performance due to the increase in solution conductivity. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration decreased from 8-15g/L (initial) to less than 4-10 g/L, respectively after 4 days in SCMFCs. Sulfate degradation was also evident, decreasing from 110-180 mg/L (initial) to less than 20 mg/L after the 4-day treatment. In contrast, ammonia concentration increased from the initial 0.5 g/L to 5 g/L, due to the urea hydrolysis [2]. The SEM-EDX analysis of cathodic deposits (white color) showed high quantities of P, S, Ca, Mg, Na and K [3]. Carbonate, sulfate and phosphorous species precipitate in cathodes due to high pH over time.

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