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Electricity Generation from Septic Waste Water Using Septic Tank as Microbial Fuel Cell

Akatah B. M., Kalagbor I. A. , Gwarah L. S.
Sustainable Energy. 2019, 7(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.12691/rse-7-1-1
Received December 11, 2018; Revised January 12, 2019; Accepted March 07, 2019

Abstract

The use of microbial fuel cell (MFC) for electricity generation from septic waste water was carried out for 12 weeks retention period. In this study, the microbial fuel cells were designed and loaded with a 1000 Ω external load (resistor). Electrical voltage, current, power output was measured on weekly basis. Current density and power density were calculated. Wastewater qualities such as Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and pH of the raw wastewater were determined in the laboratory on weekly basis. pH values were constant (8.2) while the BOD, COD and TSS decreased. The performance of the MFC showed 92.7%, 93.9% and 98.6% reduction in BOD, COD and TSS respectively indicating that this process was efficient in the biodegradation of the septic waste water. The maximum voltage reading of 3.029V was obtained on the 6th week but gradually decreased due to the formation of biofilm and reduction of substrate (food) in the cell. The linear correlation between voltage and the other parameters (current, current density and power density) have R2 values of 0.9301, 0.9303 and 0.6274 respectively. The MFC design provides a solution for power generation from wastewater in homes. This single multistage MFC produced 3.029V of electricity which was able to power a 2.0 V LED bulb.

1. Introduction

The excessive utilization of energy to a greater extent around the world has contributed significantly to energy crisis, especially from the environmental perspective. The world all over depends on energy from coal and fossil fuels which cause environmental concern and pollution due to accumulation of harmful gases in the air. This phenomenon has resulted in global warming, acid rain, climate change, emission of harmful gases, and other environmental problems 1, 2, 3. The high demand of fuel and renewable energy sources which are eco-friendly has led researchers into developing renewable energy as alternative energy sources. Apart from the environmental concern and energy crisis, there is increased interest to discover sustainable and clean source for electricity generation with little hydrocarbons 4, 5, 6, 7. Recently, many renewable energy sources have come up such as solar energy, hydroelectric energy and bio-electrochemical energy sources 2. Bio-electrochemical energy sources constitute an emerging alternative energy sources which make use of microbes for the generation of electricity. This source of renewable energy explores the interaction between microbes, wastewater and electron acceptor. The most described type of bio-electrochemical source of energy is the Microbial Fuel Cells 8, 9, 10. Microbial Fuel Cells are bio-electrochemical transducers that convert organic matter into electricity using bacteria as catalysts. MFCs are devices capable of directly transforming chemical energy into electrical energy via electrochemical reactions involving biochemical pathways and biological enzymatic catalysts 11. The use of MFCs as alternative source for power generation is considered as a clean, reliable, efficient process which utilizes renewable methods and does not generate any toxic by-products 12, 13. Researchers had utilized wastewater and biodegradable organic rich materials such as anaerobically digested distillery wastewater 1, tapioca waste water 14, sewage sludge 15, artificial waste water 16, domestic wastewater 7 and biowaste 17 in MFCs to generate electricity. The wastewater generated in homes is channeled into septic tanks and it contains biomass which may be exploited to generate electricity. This wastewater and some organic wastes contain certain biomass such as S. Putrefaciens, G. Sulferreducens, Aeromonas hydrophilic, Geobacter metallic reducens, Geobacter sulferreducens, Rhodoferax-ferrireducins, Clostridium butyricum, etc. which transfer electrons directly to the anode 18, 19. The microorganisms oxidize the substrates in the anodic chamber producing electrons and protons as well as carbon (IV) oxide as the oxidation product. At the cathode, water is produced. In MFCs micro-organisms act as electrons carrier or transporter to anodes. The transport of the electrons is due to electron shuttles present in a soluble form in bulk solution or transport units in the extracellular matrix. This extracellular matrix forms a bio-film in the anode 20, 21. The aim of this research is to generate electricity using the septic waste water that is abundant from the female hostel utilizing the microbial fuel cell technology. The electricity generated will be used to power any small device in the hostel.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Materials

Concrete Septic tanks, 100 - 1,000 ohms resistors, Variable resistance box, digital Multimeter (DT 9205A), Connecting wires, Graphite plates, PVC pipes with control valves, Septic wastewater (from the female hostel).

2.2. Construction of the MFC

The construction and use of MFCs requires knowledge of both scientific and engineering fields from microbiology and electrochemistry to materials and environmental engineering. The choice of electrode materials in this construction is very crucial. Metal electrodes if used should be non-corrosive and chemically resistant 22. Copper has been noted to cause toxicity 23, 24 to many bacteria and should be avoided. Graphite or carbon materials give better results when compared to aluminum, stainless steel or iron electrodes 25. Construction of the concrete septic tank involved making provision for both inlet and outlet openings for the waste water from the septic reservoir in the female hostel of the institution. The measurement of the cathode chamber was 0.216 m3 and 0.648 m3 for the anode chamber. The graphite plates were placed at equal spacing and connected with copper wires. This is the anode chamber. The cathode chamber was constructed using another concrete tank and filled with hypochlorite solution to increase conductivity. The three anode chambers were connected to the cathode by copper wires from the anode terminals to the multimeter then to the resistor and finally to the cathode terminal.

3. Results and Discussions

3.1. Results

The physicochemical characteristics of the septic wastewater used in this research are presented in Table 1.

3.2. Discussion

The MFC performance and efficiency was evaluated in terms of electrical parameters namely; power density, current density, internal resistance and polarization. The biodegradation efficiency was measured using the COD and BOD. Table 1 shows the values of the pH, COD, BOD and TSS obtained in this study. The pH values were observed to be constant from week 1 to week 12 with an average of 8.2. The total suspended solids (TSS) had the highest value of 1038 mg/L on the first day. By the end of week 1, this value had reduced by 58.6 % and on week 6 by 89.7 %. At week 12, the TSS value obtained was 15 mg/L showing that 98.6 % of the substrate was used up. The BOD and COD showed a similar trend in decrease of values obtained as the weeks progressed. The MFC was able to reduce the BOD and COD by 92.7 % and 93.9%.These values compare favorably with those reported by 15, 26, 27. Table 2 shows the electricity generated in terms of voltage on weekly basis. The maximum voltage of 3.029 V produced at week 6. The voltage increased from 0.207 V on the initial day to 3.029 V and gradually decreased in the weeks following. This is due to the formation of biofilm and reduction of substrate (food) in the cell. This is observed in the results obtained for BOD and COD in Table 1. These two parameters are indicators that aid in the determination of the availability of substrates for the microbes. The polarization data for the MFC with an external resistance of 1000 ohms is presented in Table 3. The plot of open circuit voltage (OCV) and the internal resistance of cell operated at this load are presented in Figure 1. The Open circuit Voltage (OCV) is 2359.6 mV and the internal resistance (IR) of the fuel cell is 838.94 Ω. The EMF of the cell is calculated using the equation:

The relationship between voltage and current density is presented in Figure 2. From this figure, it is observed that with increase in current density, there is a corresponding decrease in voltage. The relationship between power density and voltage is presented in Figure 3 showing that an increase in power density also causes an increase in voltage. Studies carried out using waste water as source of mixed microbial inocula for bio-electricity production reported considerable efficient power densities of 432 mW/m2 28, 230 mW/m2 29 and 88990 mW/m2 22. In this work, the highest power density was 10009 mW/m2. The maximum voltage output was 1673 mV which compares favorably with the value (1652 mV) obtained by 15 using sewage sludge. In order to use the designed and constructed MFC to power a LED bulb of 2.0V, a single MFC was loaded with a 1000Ω resistor and allowed to produce the maximum power of 3.029V of electricity. On production of the over 3.0V electricity, the resistor was removed and the LED bulb was connected. The cell automatically powered the bulb.

4. Conclusion

The application of Microbial Fuel Cell for electricity generation using septic waste water provides a solution for power generation. This technology can be used for wastewater treatment systems in homes and its biodegradation efficiency can be evaluated by measuring the COD. MFCs can be used as bio-sensors by monitoring the BOD in the waste water. By this process, the conversion of waste to wealth has been achieved. A single multistage MFC produced approximately 3.0V of electricity; this implies that when four of the MFCs are connected in parallel, it can produce up to 10.5V of electricity.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their appreciation to TETFund (Tertiary Education Trust Fund) for sponsoring this research.

References

[1]  Deval, A., Bhagwat, M.M. and Dikshit, A.K. “Importance of Mixed Culture in Generation of Electricity for Anaerobically Digested Distillery Waste Water through Microbial Fuel Cell”, Adv. Biores., 5 (2), 74-80. 2014.
In article      
 
[2]  Singh, D., Pratap, D., Baranwal, Y., Kurmar, B. and Chaudhary, R.K, “Microbial Fuel Cells: A Green Technology for Power Generation”, Annals of Biological Research, 1 (3), 128-138. 2010.
In article      
 
[3]  Muthu, R.V., Muthuvel, A. Narayan, K.C., and Priyanka, C.M, “Analysis and Design of Automated Electric Power Generation Unit from Domestic Waste”. Intl Journ. of Env Sec. and Dew., 1(5), 383-386. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[4]  Kim, H.J., Park, H.S., Hyun, M.S., Chang, I.S., Kim, M. and Kim, B.H, “A Mediatorless Microbial Fuel Cell Using Metal Reducing Bacterium, SheqannellaPutrefaciens”.Enzyme Microb. Tech. 30, 145-152. 2002.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Manohar, K.A., Bretschger, O., Nealson, H.K. and Mansfeld, F, “The use of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in the evaluation of the electrochemical properties of a microbial fuel cell” Bioelectrochemistry, 72(2), 149-154. 2008.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Bahan, S., Mikrob, A., Air, M. and Kultur, S. “Microbial Fuel Cells using Mixed Cultures of Wastewater for Electricity Generation”, Sains Malaysiana, 40 (9) 993-997. 2011.
In article      
 
[7]  Parkash, A. “Microbial Fuel Cell: A Source of Bioenergy”. J. Microb. Biochem. Technol. 8(3), 247-255. 2016.
In article      View Article
 
[8]  Leton, T.G., Yusuf, M. and Akatah, B.M, “Utilization of Multistage Microbial Fuel Cell for Septic Wastewater Treatment. IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil engineering (IOSR JMCE). 13 (6): 80-86. 2016.
In article      
 
[9]  Bruce, E.L. Harnelers, B., Rozendal, R, Schroder, U., Keller, J., Freguia, S., Aelterman, P., Verstraete, W. and Rabaey, K, “Microbial Fuel Cells: Methodology and Technology”, American Chemical Society, 40 (17), 5181-5792. 2006.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Das, S. and Mangwani, N, “Recent Development in Microbial Fuel Cells: A Review”. Journal of Sc. and Industrial Research, 69, 1-5. 2010.
In article      
 
[11]  Roy, S., Marzorati, S., Schievano, A., and Pant, D., Microbial Fuel Cells. In: Abraham, M.A. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies. Elsevier, 2017. 245-259.
In article      View Article
 
[12]  Logan, B.E, “Extracting Hydrogen and Electricity from Renewable Resources”, Envrion. Sc. Tech. 38, 160A-167A. 2004.
In article      View Article
 
[13]  Chaturvedi, V. and Verma, P, “Microbial Fuel Cell: A green approach for the utilization of waste for the generation of bioelectricity”, Bioresour. Bioprocess 3, 1-14. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Farida, N.C, “Tapioca Waste Water for electricity generation in Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) system” in 2nd International conference on Environmental Science and Technology, IACSIT Press, 218-220. 2011.
In article      
 
[15]  Kumar, S. and Das, B, “Comparison of the Output Voltage Characteristics Pattern for Sewage Sludge, Kitchen Waste and Cow Dung in Single Chamber Single Electrode Microbial Fuel Cell”, Indian J. Sc. Technol. 9 (30), 1-5. 2016.
In article      View Article
 
[16]  He, Z., Minteer, S.D., and Angenent, L.T, “Electricity generation from artificial wastewater using an upflow microbial fuel cell”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 39, 5262-5267. 2005.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Barua, P.K. and Deka, D, “Electricity Generation from Biowaste Based Microbial Fuel Cells”. Intl. Journal of Energy, Information and Communication, 1(1), 77-82. 2010.
In article      
 
[18]  Du, Z., Li, H. and Cau, T, “A State of the Art Review on Microbial fuel Cells: A Promising Technology for Wastewater Treatment and Bioenergy”, Biotechol Adv. 25, 464-482. 2007.
In article      View Article
 
[19]  Vinay, S. and Kundu, P, “Biocatalysts in Microbial fuel Cells”, Enzyme and Microbial Technology 47 (5), 179-188. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[20]  Bond, D.R. and Lovely, D.R, “Electricity Production by Geobacter Sulfurreducens attached to Electrodes”. Appl. Environ. Microbial .69, 1548-1555. 2003.
In article      View Article
 
[21]  Min, B., Cheng, S. and Logan, B.E, “Electricity Generation Using Membrane and Salt Bridge Microbial Fuel Cells”. Water Res, 39, 1675-1686. 2005.
In article      View Article
 
[22]  Muhammad, M.J., Muhammed, A.N., Bushra, M. and Muhammad, U.A, “Production of Bioelectricity from Vegetable Waste Extract by Designing a U-Shaped Microbial Fuel Cell” Pakistan J. Zool. 49 (2), 711-716. 2017.
In article      View Article
 
[23]  Zhang, F., Cheng, S., Pant, D., Bogaert, C. and Logan B.E, “Power Generation using an Activated Carbon and Metal Mesh Cathode in a Microbial Fuel Cell”, Electrochem. Commun. 11, 2177-2179. 2009.
In article      View Article
 
[24]  Deng, O., Li, X., Zuo, J., Ling, A. and Logan, B.E, “Power Generation using an Activated Carbon Fiber Felt Cathode in an Upflow Microbial Fuel Cell”, J. Power Sour. 195(4), 1130-1135. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[25]  Sangeetha, T. and Muthuhumar, M, “Influence of electrode material and electrode distance on bioelectricity production from Sago-processing wastewater using microbial fuel cell” Environ. Progr. Sustain. Energy 32, 390-395. 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[26]  Rabaey, K., Boon, N., Siciliano, S.D., Verheamgem, M. and Verstraete, W, “Biofuel cells select for microbial consortia that self-mediate electron transfer”, Appl. Environ. Microbial. 70, 5373-5382. 2004.
In article      View Article
 
[27]  Liu, H., Ramnarayanan, R. and Logan, B.E, “Production of electricity during wastewater treatment using a single chamber microbial fuel cell” Environ. Sci. Technol. 38, 2281-2285. 2004.
In article      View Article
 
[28]  Li, X.M., Cheng, K.Y and Wong, J.W.C, “Bioelectricity Production from Food Waste Leachate using Microbial Fuel Cells: Effect of NaCl and pH”, Bioresour. Technol. 149, 452-458. 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[29]  Mansoorian, H.J., Mahri, A.H, Jafari, A.J., Amui, M.M, Rajabizadeh, A. and Khanjani, N, “Bioelectricity Generation using Two Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell Treating Wastewater from Food Processing” Enzyme Microb. Technol. 52, 352-357. 2013.
In article      View Article
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2019 Akatah B. M., Kalagbor I. A. and Gwarah L. S.

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Akatah B. M., Kalagbor I. A., Gwarah L. S.. Electricity Generation from Septic Waste Water Using Septic Tank as Microbial Fuel Cell. Sustainable Energy. Vol. 7, No. 1, 2019, pp 1-5. http://pubs.sciepub.com/rse/7/1/1
MLA Style
M., Akatah B., Kalagbor I. A., and Gwarah L. S.. "Electricity Generation from Septic Waste Water Using Septic Tank as Microbial Fuel Cell." Sustainable Energy 7.1 (2019): 1-5.
APA Style
M., A. B. , A., K. I. , & S., G. L. (2019). Electricity Generation from Septic Waste Water Using Septic Tank as Microbial Fuel Cell. Sustainable Energy, 7(1), 1-5.
Chicago Style
M., Akatah B., Kalagbor I. A., and Gwarah L. S.. "Electricity Generation from Septic Waste Water Using Septic Tank as Microbial Fuel Cell." Sustainable Energy 7, no. 1 (2019): 1-5.
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[1]  Deval, A., Bhagwat, M.M. and Dikshit, A.K. “Importance of Mixed Culture in Generation of Electricity for Anaerobically Digested Distillery Waste Water through Microbial Fuel Cell”, Adv. Biores., 5 (2), 74-80. 2014.
In article      
 
[2]  Singh, D., Pratap, D., Baranwal, Y., Kurmar, B. and Chaudhary, R.K, “Microbial Fuel Cells: A Green Technology for Power Generation”, Annals of Biological Research, 1 (3), 128-138. 2010.
In article      
 
[3]  Muthu, R.V., Muthuvel, A. Narayan, K.C., and Priyanka, C.M, “Analysis and Design of Automated Electric Power Generation Unit from Domestic Waste”. Intl Journ. of Env Sec. and Dew., 1(5), 383-386. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[4]  Kim, H.J., Park, H.S., Hyun, M.S., Chang, I.S., Kim, M. and Kim, B.H, “A Mediatorless Microbial Fuel Cell Using Metal Reducing Bacterium, SheqannellaPutrefaciens”.Enzyme Microb. Tech. 30, 145-152. 2002.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Manohar, K.A., Bretschger, O., Nealson, H.K. and Mansfeld, F, “The use of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in the evaluation of the electrochemical properties of a microbial fuel cell” Bioelectrochemistry, 72(2), 149-154. 2008.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Bahan, S., Mikrob, A., Air, M. and Kultur, S. “Microbial Fuel Cells using Mixed Cultures of Wastewater for Electricity Generation”, Sains Malaysiana, 40 (9) 993-997. 2011.
In article      
 
[7]  Parkash, A. “Microbial Fuel Cell: A Source of Bioenergy”. J. Microb. Biochem. Technol. 8(3), 247-255. 2016.
In article      View Article
 
[8]  Leton, T.G., Yusuf, M. and Akatah, B.M, “Utilization of Multistage Microbial Fuel Cell for Septic Wastewater Treatment. IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil engineering (IOSR JMCE). 13 (6): 80-86. 2016.
In article      
 
[9]  Bruce, E.L. Harnelers, B., Rozendal, R, Schroder, U., Keller, J., Freguia, S., Aelterman, P., Verstraete, W. and Rabaey, K, “Microbial Fuel Cells: Methodology and Technology”, American Chemical Society, 40 (17), 5181-5792. 2006.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Das, S. and Mangwani, N, “Recent Development in Microbial Fuel Cells: A Review”. Journal of Sc. and Industrial Research, 69, 1-5. 2010.
In article      
 
[11]  Roy, S., Marzorati, S., Schievano, A., and Pant, D., Microbial Fuel Cells. In: Abraham, M.A. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies. Elsevier, 2017. 245-259.
In article      View Article
 
[12]  Logan, B.E, “Extracting Hydrogen and Electricity from Renewable Resources”, Envrion. Sc. Tech. 38, 160A-167A. 2004.
In article      View Article
 
[13]  Chaturvedi, V. and Verma, P, “Microbial Fuel Cell: A green approach for the utilization of waste for the generation of bioelectricity”, Bioresour. Bioprocess 3, 1-14. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Farida, N.C, “Tapioca Waste Water for electricity generation in Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) system” in 2nd International conference on Environmental Science and Technology, IACSIT Press, 218-220. 2011.
In article      
 
[15]  Kumar, S. and Das, B, “Comparison of the Output Voltage Characteristics Pattern for Sewage Sludge, Kitchen Waste and Cow Dung in Single Chamber Single Electrode Microbial Fuel Cell”, Indian J. Sc. Technol. 9 (30), 1-5. 2016.
In article      View Article
 
[16]  He, Z., Minteer, S.D., and Angenent, L.T, “Electricity generation from artificial wastewater using an upflow microbial fuel cell”, Environ. Sci. Technol. 39, 5262-5267. 2005.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Barua, P.K. and Deka, D, “Electricity Generation from Biowaste Based Microbial Fuel Cells”. Intl. Journal of Energy, Information and Communication, 1(1), 77-82. 2010.
In article      
 
[18]  Du, Z., Li, H. and Cau, T, “A State of the Art Review on Microbial fuel Cells: A Promising Technology for Wastewater Treatment and Bioenergy”, Biotechol Adv. 25, 464-482. 2007.
In article      View Article
 
[19]  Vinay, S. and Kundu, P, “Biocatalysts in Microbial fuel Cells”, Enzyme and Microbial Technology 47 (5), 179-188. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[20]  Bond, D.R. and Lovely, D.R, “Electricity Production by Geobacter Sulfurreducens attached to Electrodes”. Appl. Environ. Microbial .69, 1548-1555. 2003.
In article      View Article
 
[21]  Min, B., Cheng, S. and Logan, B.E, “Electricity Generation Using Membrane and Salt Bridge Microbial Fuel Cells”. Water Res, 39, 1675-1686. 2005.
In article      View Article
 
[22]  Muhammad, M.J., Muhammed, A.N., Bushra, M. and Muhammad, U.A, “Production of Bioelectricity from Vegetable Waste Extract by Designing a U-Shaped Microbial Fuel Cell” Pakistan J. Zool. 49 (2), 711-716. 2017.
In article      View Article
 
[23]  Zhang, F., Cheng, S., Pant, D., Bogaert, C. and Logan B.E, “Power Generation using an Activated Carbon and Metal Mesh Cathode in a Microbial Fuel Cell”, Electrochem. Commun. 11, 2177-2179. 2009.
In article      View Article
 
[24]  Deng, O., Li, X., Zuo, J., Ling, A. and Logan, B.E, “Power Generation using an Activated Carbon Fiber Felt Cathode in an Upflow Microbial Fuel Cell”, J. Power Sour. 195(4), 1130-1135. 2010.
In article      View Article
 
[25]  Sangeetha, T. and Muthuhumar, M, “Influence of electrode material and electrode distance on bioelectricity production from Sago-processing wastewater using microbial fuel cell” Environ. Progr. Sustain. Energy 32, 390-395. 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[26]  Rabaey, K., Boon, N., Siciliano, S.D., Verheamgem, M. and Verstraete, W, “Biofuel cells select for microbial consortia that self-mediate electron transfer”, Appl. Environ. Microbial. 70, 5373-5382. 2004.
In article      View Article
 
[27]  Liu, H., Ramnarayanan, R. and Logan, B.E, “Production of electricity during wastewater treatment using a single chamber microbial fuel cell” Environ. Sci. Technol. 38, 2281-2285. 2004.
In article      View Article
 
[28]  Li, X.M., Cheng, K.Y and Wong, J.W.C, “Bioelectricity Production from Food Waste Leachate using Microbial Fuel Cells: Effect of NaCl and pH”, Bioresour. Technol. 149, 452-458. 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[29]  Mansoorian, H.J., Mahri, A.H, Jafari, A.J., Amui, M.M, Rajabizadeh, A. and Khanjani, N, “Bioelectricity Generation using Two Chamber Microbial Fuel Cell Treating Wastewater from Food Processing” Enzyme Microb. Technol. 52, 352-357. 2013.
In article      View Article