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Bioresour Technol. 2011 Jan;102(1):411-5. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.05.059. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Treatment of biodiesel production wastes with simultaneous electricity generation using a single-chamber microbial fuel cell.

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State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology, No 73 Huanghe Road, Nangang District, Harbin 150090, China.


Biodiesel production through transesterification of lipids generates large quantity of biodiesel waste (BW) containing mainly glycerin. BW can be treated in various ways including distillation to produce glycerin, use as substrate for fermentative propanediol production and discharge as wastes. This study examined microbial fuel cells (MFCs) to treat BW with simultaneous electricity generation. The maximum power density using BW was 487 ± 28 mW/m(2) cathode (1.5A/m(2) cathode) with 50mM phosphate buffer solution (PBS) as the electrolyte, which was comparable with 533 ± 14 mW/m(2) cathode obtained from MFCs fed with glycerin medium (COD 1400 mg/L). The power density increased from 778 ± 67 mW/m(2) cathode using carbon cloth to 1310 ± 15 mW/m(2) cathode using carbon brush as anode in 200 mM PBS electrolyte. The power density was further increased to 2110 ± 68 mW/m(2) cathode using the heat-treated carbon brush anode. Coulombic efficiencies (CEs) increased from 8.8 ± 0.6% with carbon cloth anode to 10.4 ± 0.9% and 18.7 ± 0.9% with carbon brush anode and heat-treated carbon brush anode, respectively.

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