Evaluation of bioelectrochemical systems for wastewater treatment and sludge digestion
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Much attention has been drawn by bioelectrochemical systems (BES) in the past years for wastewater treatment, due to its potential for enhanced wastewater treatment and resource recovery with added advantages in terms of energy generation, environmental footprint, operating stability and economics. This dissertation focuses on the potential to improve treatment efficiency of different wastewater components when assisted by BES. Modified Ludzack-Ettinger (MLE) process and membrane bioreactor (MBR) process assisted by microbial fuel cells (MFC) showed improved the nitrate-nitrogen removal efficiencies by upto 31% and 20% respectively, and reduced sludge produced by 11% and 6% respectively over the control reactors. While the unique design of the cathode significantly reduced physical membrane fouling, all other bioreactor performance was unaffected. Microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) assisted Cr[VI] reduction was faster in 60 days as compared to 69 days with MFC assisted systems and 85 days with the control. The total Cr removal efficiencies in the control system and the MFC or MEC-assisted systems were 20%, 55%, and 65%, respectively, demonstrating the ability of BES in assisting wastewater remediation process. Finally, MECs incorporated into anaerobic digestion resulted in increased production of methane of 9.4 % or 8.5% with both glucose and activated sludge respectively as the substrate. The integration of MEC had no impact on acetoclastic methanogens involved in anaerobic digestion, but significantly increased the populations of hydrogenotrophic methanogens, especially Methanobacteriales. In conclusion, the integration of BES with conventional wastewater treatment and sludge digestion process enhanced the removal of organic matter, nitrate and toxic metals while supporting healthy microbial consortia.--From public.pdf
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