Microbial fuel cells : practical applications for treating complex wastes

Belanger, Derek
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Gorby, Yuri
Kilduff, James
Baveye, P. (Philippe)
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Environmental engineering
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Waste handling systems reduce the negative impacts of human activity on the environment. Conventional treatment of polluted waters consumes large amounts of energy and daily operations incur large power bills. Many municipalities enlist outdated technology, ignoring the rise in population growth, opening a window for alternative methods of pollution prevention. In spite of their low energy recovery, Bio-Electrochemical Systems (BES) economic viability relies on costs savings from reduction in solid waste and surcharge fee reduction. The New York State food processing sector produces a wide variety of complex solid and liquid organic wastes, for which many companies pay significant disposal fees. Companies paying annual waste disposal fees represent a potential market for BES. Research into BES treatment determines the extent of the implementation feasibility. This study assesses the achievable degradation rates needed for complex food processing wastewater discharge. BES implementation, easing the burden on outdated publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), relies on a bioreactor's ability of processing complex wastes at maximum rates. Our investigations into preprocessing methods reduce the time needed for BES mitigated organic carbon removal. The combined biological treatment processes, built and operated cost effectively, represent a valuable method for reducing costs and point sources of pollution.
December 2013
School of Engineering
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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