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Bioresour Technol. 2012 May;112:336-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.02.048. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Effect of increasing anodic NaCl concentration on microbial fuel cell performance.

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Centre for Water Research, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore, 1 Engineering Dr. 2, Singapore 117576, Singapore.


High salinity effluents represent an estimated 5% of the wastewater generated worldwide. In microbial fuel cells, high salinity is usually considered beneficial to power production because increased conductivity facilitates proton transfer and therefore decreases the internal resistance of the system. However, high salt concentrations are known to adversely affect the physiology of anaerobic microbial consortia. In this study, the effect of increasing NaCl concentration in the anode chamber of a microbial fuel cell fed with sodium acetate was tested. Adding up to 20 g L(-1) of NaCl enhanced the overall performance of the system, reducing the internal resistance by 33% and increasing the maximum power production by 30%. Higher NaCl concentration proved detrimental to the system. However, the Coulombic efficiency started to be affected at a much lower NaCl concentration of 10 g L(-1), showing that the anodophilic bacteria are sensitive to NaCl at relatively low concentrations.

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