COD removal characteristics in air-cathode microbial fuel cells

Xiaoyuan Zhang, Weihua He, Lijiao Ren, Jennifer Stager, Patrick J. Evans, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations


Exoelectrogenic microorganisms in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) compete with other microorganisms for substrate. In order to understand how this affects removal rates, current generation, and coulombic efficiencies (CEs), substrate removal rates were compared in MFCs fed a single, readily biodegradable compound (acetate) or domestic wastewater (WW). Removal rates based on initial test conditions fit first-order kinetics, but rate constants varied with circuit resistance. With filtered WW (100Ω), the rate constant was 0.18h-1, which was higher than acetate or filtered WW with an open circuit (0.10h-1), but CEs were much lower (15-24%) than acetate. With raw WW (100Ω), COD removal proceeded in two stages: a fast removal stage with high current production, followed by a slower removal with little current. While using MFCs increased COD removal rate due to current generation, secondary processes will be needed to reduce COD to levels suitable for discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource technology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


Dive into the research topics of 'COD removal characteristics in air-cathode microbial fuel cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this