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Simultaneous Electricity Generation and Heavy Metals Reduction from Distillery Effluent by Microbial Fuel Cell


  • Environmental Engineering and Technology Lab, Department of Environmental Sciences, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore – 641046, Tamil Nadu, India


Objectives: Raw distillery effluent put to use as substrate for electricity generation in MFC and effectiveness in treatment including heavy metals reduction using MFC are the focus of the study. Methods/Statistical Analysis: Dual chamber fuel cells were fabricated using Poly (methyl methacrylate) sheet as a single unit, graphite rods are used as electrodes. Microporous PVC separators are used for salt bridge to distinct the anode and cathode chambers so as comparing with the conventional ‘H’ type dual chamber reactor the distance between the electrodes are reduced. The fuel cells were operated in batch mode at room temperature. Findings: The Microbial Fuel Cell is a bio-electrochemical device draws electricity from the microorganism that utilizes the organic matter from the wastewater, different wastewater could be employed as a substrate. Distillery effluent consist of high chemical oxygen demand, it effectuated electricity generation for 73 days. The fuel cells produced a maximum voltage of 206 mV that derived a maximum current density 123.50 mA/m2 and power density of 25194.8 mW/m2. Electricity generation and effluent treatment depends on the ability of the microorganism to convert the organic matter of the substrate. The COD removal 68.7% was obtained from the fuel cell it is effective than the conventional treatment techniques without pretreatment or dilution of the effluent. The MFC treatment also assisted the removal of Nitrate 76.6%, Phosphate 79.4%, Sulphate 70.8%. The overall performance of the fuel cell determined by the Columbic Efficiency rendered by the process was 47.12%. Elemental analysis of treated effluent exhibited considerable reduction of heavy metals present in the distillery effluent. Application/Improvements: This study shows that the treatment of raw distillery effluent is effective with MFC technique. It also signifies the potential of heavy metal reduction with MFC by simultaneous electricity generation.


COD, Distillery Effluent, Electricity, Heavy metals, MFC, Treatment

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