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Performance of a lab-scale bio-electrochemical assisted septic tank for the anaerobic treatment of black water

Carlos Enrique Zamalloa Nalvarte (UGent) , Jan Arends (UGent) , Nico Boon (UGent) and Willy Verstraete (UGent)
(2013) NEW BIOTECHNOLOGY. 30(5). p.573-580
Author
Organization
Project
Biotechnology for a sustainable economy (Bio-Economy)
Project
PLANTPOWER (PlantPower - Living plants in microbial fuel cells for clean, renewable, sustainable, efficient, in-situ bioenergy production)
Abstract
Septic tanks are used for the removal of organic particulates in wastewaters by physical accumulation instead of through the biological production of biogas. Improved biogas production in septic tanks is crucial to increase the potential of this system for both energy generation and organic matter removal. In this study, the effect on the biogas production and biogas quality of coupling a 20 L lab-scale septic tank with a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) was investigated and compared with a standard septic tank. Both reactors were operated at a volumetric organic loading rate of 0.5 gCOD/L d and a hydraulic retention time between 20 and 40 days using black water as an input under mesophilic conditions for a period of 3 months. The MEC-septic tank was operated at an applied voltage of 2.0 ±0.1V and the current experienced ranged from 40 mA (0.9 A/m2 projected electrode area) to 180 mA (5 A/m2 projected electrode area). The COD removal was of the order of 85% and the concentration of residual COD was not different between both reactors. Yet, the total phosphorous in the output was on average 39% lower in the MEC-septic tank. Moreover, the biogas production rate in the MEC-septic tank was a factor of 5 higher than in the control reactor and the H2S concentration in the biogas was a factor of 2.5 lower. The extra electricity supplied to the MEC-septic tank was recovered as extra biogas produced. Overall, it appears that the combination of MEC and a septic tank offers perspectives in terms of lower discharge of phosphorus and H2S, nutrient recuperation and a more reliable supply of biogas.
Keywords
WATER, ELECTROLYSIS, DESAR CONCEPT, HYDROLYSIS, ORGANIC-WASTES, SULFIDE REMOVAL, energy recovery, biogas, electrode, biomethanation, fuel cell, RECOVERY, DIGESTION, METHANE, CELLS

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Zamalloa Nalvarte, Carlos Enrique, Jan Arends, Nico Boon, and Willy Verstraete. 2013. “Performance of a Lab-scale Bio-electrochemical Assisted Septic Tank for the Anaerobic Treatment of Black Water.” New Biotechnology 30 (5): 573–580.
APA
Zamalloa Nalvarte, C. E., Arends, J., Boon, N., & Verstraete, W. (2013). Performance of a lab-scale bio-electrochemical assisted septic tank for the anaerobic treatment of black water. NEW BIOTECHNOLOGY, 30(5), 573–580.
Vancouver
1.
Zamalloa Nalvarte CE, Arends J, Boon N, Verstraete W. Performance of a lab-scale bio-electrochemical assisted septic tank for the anaerobic treatment of black water. NEW BIOTECHNOLOGY. 2013;30(5):573–80.
MLA
Zamalloa Nalvarte, Carlos Enrique, Jan Arends, Nico Boon, et al. “Performance of a Lab-scale Bio-electrochemical Assisted Septic Tank for the Anaerobic Treatment of Black Water.” NEW BIOTECHNOLOGY 30.5 (2013): 573–580. Print.
@article{4107981,
  abstract     = {Septic tanks are used for the removal of organic particulates in wastewaters by physical accumulation instead of through the biological production of biogas. Improved biogas production in septic tanks is crucial to increase the potential of this system for both energy generation and organic matter removal. In this study, the effect on the biogas production and biogas quality of coupling a 20 L lab-scale septic tank with a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) was investigated and compared with a standard septic tank. Both reactors were operated at a volumetric organic loading rate of 0.5 gCOD/L d and a hydraulic retention time between 20 and 40 days using black water as an input under mesophilic conditions for a period of 3 months. The MEC-septic tank was operated at an applied voltage of 2.0 {\textpm}0.1V and the current experienced ranged from 40 mA (0.9 A/m2 projected electrode area) to 180 mA (5 A/m2 projected electrode area). The COD removal was of the order of 85\% and the concentration of residual COD was not different between both reactors. Yet, the total phosphorous in the output was on average 39\% lower in the MEC-septic tank. Moreover, the biogas production rate in the MEC-septic tank was a factor of 5 higher than in the control reactor and the H2S concentration in the biogas was a factor of 2.5 lower. The extra electricity supplied to the MEC-septic tank was recovered as extra biogas produced. Overall, it appears that the combination of MEC and a septic tank offers perspectives in terms of lower discharge of phosphorus and H2S, nutrient recuperation and a more reliable supply of biogas.},
  author       = {Zamalloa Nalvarte, Carlos Enrique and Arends, Jan and Boon, Nico and Verstraete, Willy},
  issn         = {1871-6784},
  journal      = {NEW BIOTECHNOLOGY},
  keyword      = {WATER,ELECTROLYSIS,DESAR CONCEPT,HYDROLYSIS,ORGANIC-WASTES,SULFIDE REMOVAL,energy recovery,biogas,electrode,biomethanation,fuel cell,RECOVERY,DIGESTION,METHANE,CELLS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {573--580},
  title        = {Performance of a lab-scale bio-electrochemical assisted septic tank for the anaerobic treatment of black water},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbt.2013.01.009},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2013},
}

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