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Environmental Engineering Research 2019;24(3): 443-448. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.211
Nitrogen removal and electrochemical characteristics depending on separators of two-chamber microbial fuel cells
Kang-yu Lee, In-kwon Choi, and Kyeong-ho Lim
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Kongju National University, Cheonan, Chungnam 31080, Republic of Korea
Corresponding Author: Kyeong-ho Lim ,Tel: +82-41-521-9308, Fax: +82-41-568-0287, Email: khlim@kongju.ac.kr
Received: June 21, 2018;  Accepted: October 30, 2018.
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The present study was conducted to compare the voltage generation in two-chamber microbial fuel cells (MFCs) with a biocathode where nitrate and oxygen are used as a terminal electron acceptors (TEA) and to investigate the nitrogen removal and the electrochemical characteristics depending on the separators of the MFCs for denitrification. The maximum power density in a biocathode MFC using an anion exchange membrane (AEM) was approximately 40% lower with the use of nitrate as a TEA than when using oxygen. The MFC for denitrification using an AEM allows acetate (CH3COO-) as a substrate and nitrate (NO3 -) as a TEA to be transported to the opposite sides of the chamber through the AEM. Therefore, heterotrophic denitrification and electrochemical denitrification occurred simultaneously at the anode and the cathode, resulting in a higher COD and nitrate removal rate and a lower maximum power density. The MFC for the denitrification using a cation exchange membrane (CEM) does not allow the transport of acetate and nitrate. Therefore, as oxidation of organics and electrochemical denitrification occurred at the anode and at the cathode, respectively, the MFC using a CEM showed a higher coulomb efficiency, a lower COD and nitrate removal rate in comparison with the MFC using an AEM.
Keywords: Biocathode | Denitrification | Microbial fuel cell | Power density | Separator
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