Continuous power generation and treatment of landfill leachate using microbial fuel cells
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Microbial fuel cells (MFC) could be a more sustainable approach in treating wastewater since they produce energy by oxidizing organic material present in the wastewater. Landfill leachate is used as the organic substrate in this study with no external inoculation. Alternative cathode catalyst and anode materials were explored. A large semi-continuous MFC was designed, constructed and operated to test an MFC in more scalable conditions. The alternative cathode catalyst reduced chemical oxygen demand (COD) ranging from 62-75% producing a peak voltage of 451 mV and a power density of 0.432 W/m3. The alternative anode cell (biochar) produced a maximum voltage of 437 mV and had a power density 0.407 W/m3 while showing 22-38% reductions in COD. The semi-continuous MFC showed 77% reduction in BOD while maintaining stable voltage for a consistent amount of time.