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Urine microbial fuel cells in a semi-controlled environment for onsite urine pre-treatment and electricity production

Cid, Clément A. and Stinchcombe, Andrew and Ieropoulos, Ioannis and Hoffmann, Michael R. (2018) Urine microbial fuel cells in a semi-controlled environment for onsite urine pre-treatment and electricity production. Journal of Power Sources, 400 . pp. 441-448. ISSN 0378-7753.

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Microbial fuel cell (MFC) systems have the ability to oxidize organic matter and transfer electrons to an external circuit as electricity at voltage levels of <1 V. Urine has been shown to be an excellent feedstock for various MFC systems, particularly MFCs inoculated with activated sludge and with a terracotta ceramic membrane separating carbon-based electrodes. In this article, we studied a MFC system composed of two stacks of 32 individual cells each sharing the same anolyte. By combining the current produced by the 32 cells connected in parallel and by adding the potential of both stacks connected in series, an average power density of 23 mW m^(−2) was produced at an effective current density of 65 mA m^(−2) for more than 120 days. [NH_3], TIC, COD, and TOC levels were monitored frequently to understand the chemical energy conversion to electricity as well as to determine the best electrical configuration of the stacks. Archaeal and bacterial populations on selected anode felts and in the anolyte of both stacks were investigated as well. Indicator microorganisms for bacterial waterborne diseases were measured in anolyte and catholyte compartments to evaluate the risk of reusing the catholyte in a non-regulated environment.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Cid, Clément A.0000-0002-7293-035X
Ieropoulos, Ioannis0000-0002-9641-5504
Hoffmann, Michael R.0000-0001-6495-1946
Additional Information:© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. Under a Creative Commons license - Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Received 7 June 2018, Revised 10 August 2018, Accepted 13 August 2018, Available online 23 August 2018. The authors acknowledge support provided by Dr. Hank Yu of Prof. Orphan's research group and Dr. Nathan Dalleska, Director of the Environmental Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Yu helped with DNA extraction, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and data analysis, while Dr. Nathan Dalleska provided assistance with Ion Chromatography and Total Organic/Inorganic Carbon analyses. This research was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under RTTC Grants OPP 1069500 and OPP 1111246 for CAC and MRH, and GCE Grant OPP 1094890 for AS and II.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP 1069500
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP 1111246
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationOPP 1094890
Subject Keywords:Microbial fuel cell; Electricity generation; Urine treatment
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180823-081822229
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Official Citation:Clement A. Cid, Andrew Stinchcombe, Ioannis Ieropoulos, Michael R. Hoffmann, Urine microbial fuel cells in a semi-controlled environment for onsite urine pre-treatment and electricity production, Journal of Power Sources, Volume 400, 2018, Pages 441-448, ISSN 0378-7753, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:89078
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Aug 2018 16:43
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

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