Matching Items (11)

135253-Thumbnail Image.png

Electrochemical Characterization of a High-Current-Density Microbial Biocathode with an Air Diffusion Membrane

Description

In microbial fuel cells (MFCs) the biocathode is developed as a potential alternative to chemical cathodic catalysts, which are deemed as expensive and unsustainable for applications. These cells utilize different

In microbial fuel cells (MFCs) the biocathode is developed as a potential alternative to chemical cathodic catalysts, which are deemed as expensive and unsustainable for applications. These cells utilize different types of microorganisms as catalysts to promote biodegradation of organic matter while simultaneously converting energy released in metabolic reactions into electrical energy. Most current research have focused more on the anodic microbes, including the current generating bacteria species, anodic microbial community composition, and the mechanisms of the extracellular electron transfer. Compared to the anode, research on the microbes of the biocathode of the MFCs are very limited and are heavily focused on the role of the bacteria in the system. Thus, further understand of the mechanism of the microbial community in the biocathode will create new engineering applications for sustainable energy. Previous research conducted by Strycharz-Glaven et al. presented an electrochemical analysis of a Marinobacter-dominated biocathode communitygrown on biocathodes in sediment/seawater-based MFCs. Chronoamperometry results indicated that current densities up to -0.04 A/m2 were produced for the biocathode. Cyclic voltammetry responses indicated a midpoint potential at 0.196 V ± 0.01 V. However, the reactor design for these experiments showed that no oxygen is supplied to the electrochemical system. By incorporating an air diffusion membrane to the cathode of the reactor, chronoamperometry results have produced current density in the system up to -0.15 A/m2. Cyclic voltammetry results have also displayed a midpoint potential of 0.25 V ± 0.01 V under scan rates of 0.2 mV/s. Thus, this electrochemical setup has increased the current output of the system.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

135296-Thumbnail Image.png

Continuous Hydrogen Peroxide Production using Microbial Electrochemical Cells

Description

Alternative ion exchange membranes for implementation in a peroxide production microbial electrochemical cel (PP-MEC) are explored through membrane stability tests with NaCl electrolyte and stabilizer EDTA at varying operational pHs.

Alternative ion exchange membranes for implementation in a peroxide production microbial electrochemical cel (PP-MEC) are explored through membrane stability tests with NaCl electrolyte and stabilizer EDTA at varying operational pHs. PP-MEC performance parameters \u2014 H2O2 concentration, current density, coulombic efficiency and power input required \u2014 are optimized over a 7 month continuous operation period based on their response to changes in HRT, EDTA concentration, air flow rate and electrolyte. I found that EDTA was compatible for use with the membranes. I also determined that AMI membranes were preferable to CMI and FAA because it was consistently stable and maintained its structural integrity. Still, I suggest testing more membranes because the AMI degraded in continuous operation. The PP-MEC produced up to 0.38 wt% H2O2, enough to perform water treatment through the Fenton process and significantly greater than the 0.13 wt% batch PP-MEC tests by previous researchers. It ran at > 0.20 W-hr/g H2O2 power input, ~ three orders of magnitude less than what is required for the anthraquinone process. I recommend high HRT and EDTA concentration while running the PP- MEC to increase H2O2 concentration, but low HRT and low EDTA concentration to decrease power input required. I recommend NaCl electrolyte but suggest testing new electrolytes that may control pH without degrading H2O2. I determined that air flow rate has no effect on PP-MEC operation. These recommendations should optimize PP-MEC operation based on its application.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

136591-Thumbnail Image.png

A Sustainable Approach to Wastewater Treatment Using Microbial Fuel Cells with Peroxide Production

Description

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) promote the sustainable conversion of organic matter in black water to electrical current, enabling the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) while making waste water treatment energy

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) promote the sustainable conversion of organic matter in black water to electrical current, enabling the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) while making waste water treatment energy neutral or positive. H2O2 is useful in remote locations such as U.S. military forward operating bases (FOBs) for on-site tertiary water treatment or as a medical disinfectant, among many other uses. Various carbon-based catalysts and binders for use at the cathode of a an MFC for H2O2 production are explored using linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) and rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE) techniques. The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode has slow kinetics at conditions present in the MFC, making it important to find a catalyst type and loading which promote a 2e- (rather than 4e-) reaction to maximize H2O2 formation. Using LSV methods, I compared the cathodic overpotentials associated with graphite and Vulcan carbon catalysts as well as Nafion and AS-4 binders. Vulcan carbon catalyst with Nafion binder produced the lowest overpotentials of any binder/catalyst combinations. Additionally, I determined that pH control may be required at the cathode due to large potential losses caused by hydroxide (OH-) concentration gradients. Furthermore, RRDE tests indicate that Vulcan carbon catalyst with a Nafion binder has a higher H2O2 production efficiency at lower catalyst loadings, but the trade-off is a greater potential loss due to higher activation energy. Therefore, an intermediate catalyst loading of 0.5 mg/cm2 Vulcan carbon with Nafion binder is recommended for the final MFC design. The chosen catalyst, binder, and loading will maximize H2O2 production, optimize MFC performance, and minimize the need for additional energy input into the system.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

155176-Thumbnail Image.png

High performance microbial fuel cells and supercapacitors using Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) technology

Description

A Microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-inspired carbon-neutral, renewable electrochemical converter to extract electricity from catabolic reaction of micro-organisms. It is a promising technology capable of directly converting the

A Microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-inspired carbon-neutral, renewable electrochemical converter to extract electricity from catabolic reaction of micro-organisms. It is a promising technology capable of directly converting the abundant biomass on the planet into electricity and potentially alleviate the emerging global warming and energy crisis. The current and power density of MFCs are low compared with conventional energy conversion techniques. Since its debut in 2002, many studies have been performed by adopting a variety of new configurations and structures to improve the power density. The reported maximum areal and volumetric power densities range from 19 mW/m2 to 1.57 W/m2 and from 6.3 W/m3 to 392 W/m3, respectively, which are still low compared with conventional energy conversion techniques. In this dissertation, the impact of scaling effect on the performance of MFCs are investigated, and it is found that by scaling down the characteristic length of MFCs, the surface area to volume ratio increases and the current and power density improves. As a result, a miniaturized MFC fabricated by Micro-Electro-Mechanical System(MEMS) technology with gold anode is presented in this dissertation, which demonstrate a high power density of 3300 W/m3. The performance of the MEMS MFC is further improved by adopting anodes with higher surface area to volume ratio, such as carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene based anodes, and the maximum power density is further improved to a record high power density of 11220 W/m3. A novel supercapacitor by regulating the respiration of the bacteria is also presented, and a high power density of 531.2 A/m2 (1,060,000 A/m3) and 197.5 W/m2 (395,000 W/m3), respectively, are marked, which are one to two orders of magnitude higher than any previously reported microbial electrochemical techniques.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

155160-Thumbnail Image.png

Towards improving electron recovery and Coulombic efficiency of microbial electrochemical cells fed with fermentable electron donors

Description

The microbial electrochemical cell (MXC) is a novel environmental-biotechnology platform for renewable energy production from waste streams. The two main goals of MXCs are recovery of renewable energy and production

The microbial electrochemical cell (MXC) is a novel environmental-biotechnology platform for renewable energy production from waste streams. The two main goals of MXCs are recovery of renewable energy and production of clean water. Up to now, energy recovery, Coulombic efficiency (CE), and treatment efficiency of MXCs fed with real wastewater have been low. Therefore, the overarching goal of my research was to address the main causes for these low efficiencies; this knowledge will advance MXCs technology toward commercialization.

First, I found that fermentation, not anode respiration, was the rate-limiting step for achieving complete organics removal, along with high current densities and CE. The best performance was achieved by doing most of the fermentation in an independent reactor that preceded the MXC. I also outlined how the efficiency of fermentation inside MXCs can be enhanced in order to make MXCs-based technologies cost-competitive with other anaerobic environmental biotechnologies. I revealed that the carbohydrate and protein contents and the BOD5/COD ratio governed the efficiency of organic-matter fermentation: high protein content and low BOD5/COD ratio were the main causes for low fermentation efficiency.

Next, I showed how a high ammonium concentration can provide kinetic and metabolic advantages or disadvantages for anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) over their competitors, particularly methanogens. When exposed to a relatively high ammonium concentration (i.e., > 2.2 g total ammonia-nitrogen (TAN)/L), the ARB were forced to divert a greater electron flow toward current generation and, consequently, had lower net biomass yield. However, the ARB were relatively more resistant to high free ammonia-nitrogen (FAN) concentrations, up to 200 mg FAN/L. I used FAN to manage ecological interactions among ARB and non-ARB in an MXC fed with fermentable substrate (glucose). Utilizing a combination of chemical, electrochemical, and genomic tools, I found that increased FAN led to higher CE and lower methane (CH4) production by suppressing methanogens. Thus, managing FAN offers a practical means to suppress methanogenesis, instead of using expensive and unrealistic inhibitors. My research findings open up new opportunities for more efficient operation of MXCs; this will enhance MXC scale-up and commercial applications, particularly for energy-positive treatment of waste streams containing recalcitrant organics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

154541-Thumbnail Image.png

Anaerobic conversion of primary sludge to resources in microbial electrochemical cells

Description

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) serve as an alternative anaerobic technology to anaerobic digestion for efficient energy recovery from high-strength organic wastes such as primary sludge (PS). The overarching goal

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) serve as an alternative anaerobic technology to anaerobic digestion for efficient energy recovery from high-strength organic wastes such as primary sludge (PS). The overarching goal of my research was to address energy conversion from PS to useful resources (e.g. hydrogen or hydrogen peroxide) through bio- and electro-chemical anaerobic conversion processes in MXCs.

First, a new flat-pate microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) was designed with high surface area anodes using carbon fibers, but without creating a large distance between the anode and the cathode (<0.5 cm) to reduce Ohmic overpotential. Through the improved design, operation, and electrochemical characterization, the applied voltages were reduced from 1.1 to ~0.85 V, at 10 A m-2. Second, PS conversion was examined through hydrolysis, fermentation, methanogenesis, and/or anode respiration. Since pretreatment often is required to accelerate hydrolysis of organic solids, I evaluated pulsed electric field technology on PS showing a modest improvement of energy conversion through methanogenesis and fermentation, as compared to the conversion from waste activated sludge (WAS) or WAS+PS. Then, a two-stage system (prefermented PS-fed MEC) yielded successful performance in terms of Coulombic efficiency (95%), Coulombic recovery (CR, 80%), and COD-removal efficiency (85%). However, overall PS conversion to electrical current (or CR) through pre-fermentation and MEC, was just ~16%. Next, a single-stage system (direct PS-fed MEC) with semi-continuous operation showed 34% CR at a 9-day hydraulic retention time. The PS-fed MEC also showed an important pH dependency, in which high pH (> 8) in the anode chamber improved anode respiration along with methanogen inhibition. Finally, H2O2 was produced in a PS-fed microbial electrochemical cell with a low energy requirement (~0.87 kWh per kg H2O2). These research developments will provide groundbreaking knowledge for MXC design, commercial application, and anaerobic energy conversion from other high-strength organic wastes to resources.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

154650-Thumbnail Image.png

Energy and the environment: electrochemistry of electron transport pathways in anode-respiring bacteria and energy technology and climate change in science textbooks

Description

The finite supply of current energy production materials has created opportunities for the investigation of alternative energy sources in many fields. One example is the use of microorganisms in

The finite supply of current energy production materials has created opportunities for the investigation of alternative energy sources in many fields. One example is the use of microorganisms in bioenergy applications, such as microbial fuel cells. Present in many types of environments, microorganisms with the ability to respire solid electron acceptors have become of increasing relevance to alternative energy and wastewater treatment research. In this dissertation, several aspects of anode respiration are investigated, with the goal of increasing the limited understanding of the mechanisms of electron transport through the use of advanced electrochemical methods. Biofilms of Geobacter sulfurreducens, the model anode respiring organism, as well as its alkaliphilic relative, Geoalkalibacter ferrihydriticus, were investigated using chronoamperometry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry.

In G. sulfurreducens, two distinct pathways of electron transport were observed through the application of advanced electrochemical techniques on anode biofilms in microbial electrochemical cells. These pathways were found to be preferentially expressed, based on the poised anode potential (redox potential) of the electrode. In Glk. ferrihydriticus, four pathways for electron transport were found, showing an even greater diversity in electron transport pathway utilization as compared to G. sulfurreducens. These observations provide insights into the diversity of electron transport pathways present in anode-respiring bacteria and introduce the necessity of further characterization for pathway identification.

Essential to science today, communication of pressing scientific issues to the lay audience may present certain difficulties. This can be seen especially with the topics that are considered socio-scientific issues, those considered controversial in society but not for scientists. This dissertation explores the presentation of alternative and renewable energy technologies and climate change in undergraduate education. In introductory-level Biology, Chemistry, and Physics textbooks, the content and terminology presented were analyzed for individual textbooks and used to evaluate discipline-based trends. Additional extensions were made between teaching climate change with the active learning technique of citizen science using past research gains from studies of evolution. These observations reveal patterns in textbook content for energy technologies and climate change, as well as exploring new aspects of teaching techniques.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

154205-Thumbnail Image.png

Thermophilic microbial electrochemical cells

Description

Microbial Electrochemical Cell (MXC) technology harnesses the power stored in wastewater by using anode respiring bacteria (ARB) as a biofilm catalyst to convert the energy stored in waste into hydrogen

Microbial Electrochemical Cell (MXC) technology harnesses the power stored in wastewater by using anode respiring bacteria (ARB) as a biofilm catalyst to convert the energy stored in waste into hydrogen or electricity. ARB, or exoelectrogens, are able to convert the chemical energy stored in wastes into electrical energy by transporting electrons extracellularly and then transferring them to an electrode. If MXC technology is to be feasible for ‘real world’ applications, it is essential that diverse ARB are discovered and their unique physiologies elucidated- ones which are capable of consuming a broad spectrum of wastes from different contaminated water sources.

This dissertation examines the use of Gram-positive thermophilic (60 ◦C) ARB in MXCs since very little is known regarding the behavior of these microorganisms in this setting. Here, we begin with the draft sequence of the Thermincola ferriacetica genome and reveal the presence of 35 multiheme c-type cytochromes. In addition, we employ electrochemical techniques including cyclic voltammetry (CV) and chronoamperometry (CA) to gain insight into the presence of multiple pathways for extracellular electron transport (EET) and current production (j) limitations in T. ferriacetica biofilms.

Next, Thermoanaerobacter pseudethanolicus, a fermentative ARB, is investigated for its ability to ferment pentose and hexose sugars prior to using its fermentation products, including acetate and lactate, for current production in an MXC. Using CA, current production is tracked over time with the generation and consumption of fermentation products. Using CV, the midpoint potential (EKA) of the T. pseudethanolicus EET pathway is revealed.

Lastly, a cellulolytic microbial consortium was employed for the purpose ofassessing the feasibility of using thermophilic MXCs for the conversion of solid waste into current production. Here, a highly enriched consortium of bacteria, predominately from the Firmicutes phylum, is capable of generating current from solid cellulosic materials.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

151868-Thumbnail Image.png

Microbial electrochemical cells for selective enrichment and characterization of photosynthetic and haloalkaliphilic anode-respiring bacteria

Description

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) are promising platforms for bioenergy production from renewable resources. In these systems, specialized anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) deliver electrons from oxidation of organic substrates to the anode

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) are promising platforms for bioenergy production from renewable resources. In these systems, specialized anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) deliver electrons from oxidation of organic substrates to the anode of an MXC. While much progress has been made in understanding the microbiology, physiology, and electrochemistry of well-studied model ARB such as Geobacter and Shewanella, tremendous potential exists for MXCs as microbiological platforms for exploring novel ARB. This dissertation introduces approaches for selective enrichment and characterization of phototrophic, halophilic, and alkaliphilic ARB. An enrichment scheme based on manipulation of poised anode potential, light, and nutrient availability led to current generation that responded negatively to light. Analysis of phototrophically enriched communities suggested essential roles for green sulfur bacteria and halophilic ARB in electricity generation. Reconstruction of light-responsive current generation could be successfully achieved using cocultures of anode-respiring Geobacter and phototrophic Chlorobium isolated from the MXC enrichments. Experiments lacking exogenously supplied organic electron donors indicated that Geobacter could produce a measurable current from stored photosynthate in the dark. Community analysis of phototrophic enrichments also identified members of the novel genus Geoalkalibacter as potential ARB. Electrochemical characterization of two haloalkaliphilic, non-phototrophic Geoalkalibacter spp. showed that these bacteria were in fact capable of producing high current densities (4-8 A/m2) and using higher organic substrates under saline or alkaline conditions. The success of these selective enrichment approaches and community analyses in identifying and understanding novel ARB capabilities invites further use of MXCs as robust platforms for fundamental microbiological investigations.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

156940-Thumbnail Image.png

Understanding the mechanisms and potential of microbial peroxide-producing cells (MPPCs)

Description

Microbial electrochemical cells (MxCs) are a novel technology that use anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) to bioremediate wastewaters and respire an electrical current, which can then be used directly to produce value-added

Microbial electrochemical cells (MxCs) are a novel technology that use anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) to bioremediate wastewaters and respire an electrical current, which can then be used directly to produce value-added products like hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Ninety-five percent of the world’s H2O2 is currently produced using the anthraquinone process, whose production requires expensive and potentially carcinogenic catalysts and high amounts of electricity. However, the amount of H2O2 that can be produced from these microbial peroxide-producing cells (MPPCs) has not been thoroughly investigated. Predicting potential H2O2 production in MxCs is further complicated by a lack of mathematical models to predict performance utilizing complex waste streams like primary sludge (PS).

A reactor design methodology was developed for MPPCs to systematically optimize H2O2 production with minimal energy consumption. H2O2 stability was evaluated with different catholytes, membranes, and catalysts materials, and the findings used to design and operate long-term a dual-chamber, flat-plate MPPC using different catholytes, ferrochelating stabilizers, and hydraulic retention times (HRT). Up to 3.1 ± 0.37 g H2O2 L-1 was produced at a 4-h HRT in an MPPC with as little as 1.13 W-h g-1 H2O2 power input using NaCl catholytes. Attempts to improve H2O2 production by using weak acid buffers as catholytes or ferrochelating stabilizers failed for different reasons.

A non-steady-state mathematical model, MYAnode, was developed combinging existing wastewater treatment, anode biofilm, and chemical speciation models to predict MxC performance utilizing complex substrates. The model simulated the large-scale trends observed when operating an MPPC with PS substrate. At HRTs ≥ 12-d, the model demonstrated up to 20% Coulombic recovery. At these conditions, ARB required additional alkalinity production by ≥ 100 mgVSS/L of acetoclastic methanogens to prevent pH inhibition when little influent alkalinity is available. At lower HRTs, methanogens are unable to produce the alkalinity required to prevent ARB inhibition due to washout and rapid acidification of the system during fermentation. At ≥ 100 mgVSS/L of methanogens, increasing the diffusion layer thickness from 500 to 1000 μm improved Coulombic efficiency by 13.9%, while increasing particulate COD hydrolysis rates to 0.25/d only improved Coulombic efficiency by 3.9%.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018