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Making sediment microbial fuel cells

Principal Investigator(s) 

The sediment microbial fuel cell (SMFC) generates electrical power by oxidizing organic matter in marine sediments using oxygen in the water. SMFCs exploit the naturally occurring transition from oxic water to anaerobic sediment in marine environments. In wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) there is a similar environment, which opens up the possibility for power generation. As much as 50 percent of energy consumed by WWTPs is for the aeration of wastewater to oxidize organic matter. Here we investigated whether an SMFC can be configured to oxidize organic matter in wastewater, therefore reducing a treatment plant’s energy consumption while producing useful power. More information about this project is available online.