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Electrochemical treatment of human waste coupled with molecular hydrogen production

Cho, Kangwoo and Kwon, Daejung and Hoffmann, Michael R. (2014) Electrochemical treatment of human waste coupled with molecular hydrogen production. RSC Advances, 4 (9). pp. 4596-4608. ISSN 2046-2069. doi:10.1039/C3RA46699J.

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We have developed a wastewater treatment system that incorporates an electrolysis cell for on-site wastewater treatment coupled with molecular hydrogen production for use in a hydrogen fuel cell. Herein, we report on the efficacy of a laboratory-scale wastewater electrolysis cell (WEC) using real human waste for the first time with semiconductor electrode utilizing a mixed particle coating of bismuth oxide doped titanium dioxide (BiO_x/TiO_2). A comprehensive environmental analysis has been coupled together with a robust kinetic model under the chemical reaction limited regime to investigate the role of various redox reactions mediated by chloride present in human waste. The oxidative elimination of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) and ammonium ion can be modelled using empirical, pseudo-first-order rate constants and current efficiencies (CE). In combination with an anaerobic pre-treatment step, human waste containing high-levels of COD, protein, and color are eliminated within 6 hours of batch treatment in the WEC. The reactor effluent has a residual inorganic total nitrogen (TN) concentration of [similar]40 mM. The CE and specific energy consumption were 8.5% and 200 kWh per kgCOD for the COD removal, 11% and 260 for kWh per kgTN for the TN conversion. The CE and energy efficiencies (EE) for hydrogen production were calculated to be 90% and 25%, respectively.

Item Type:Article
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Hoffmann, Michael R.0000-0001-6495-1946
Additional Information:© 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry. Received 17th September 2013. Accepted 26th November 2013. First published online 29 Nov 2013. The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF RTTC Grant OPP1037491 & BMGF RTTC Grant OPP109500C) and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology for support provided for the graduate study of Kangwoo Cho. This project benefited from the use of instrumentation made available by the Caltech Environmental Analysis Center.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP1037491
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP109500C
Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140129-155158774
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Official Citation:Electrochemical treatment of human waste coupled with molecular hydrogen production Kangwoo Cho, Daejung Kwon and Michael R. Hoffmann RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 4596-4608 DOI: 10.1039/C3RA46699J, Paper
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43561
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:30 Jan 2014 15:45
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:39

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