Comparison of complex effluent treatability in different bench scale microbial electrolysis cells

Mark L. Ullery, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A range of wastewaters and substrates were examined using mini microbial electrolysis cells (mini MECs) to see if they could be used to predict the performance of larger-scale cube MECs. COD removals and coulombic efficiencies corresponded well between the two reactor designs for individual samples, with 66-92% of COD removed for all samples. Current generation was consistent between the reactor types for acetate (AC) and fermentation effluent (FE) samples, but less consistent with industrial (IW) and domestic wastewaters (DW). Hydrogen was recovered from all samples in cube MECs, but gas composition and volume varied significantly between samples. Evidence for direct conversion of substrate to methane was observed with two of the industrial wastewater samples (IW-1 and IW-3). Overall, mini MECs provided organic treatment data that corresponded well with larger scale reactor results, and therefore it was concluded that they can be a useful platform for screening wastewater sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-537
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource technology
StatePublished - Oct 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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