Wastewater treatment using anaerobic fluidized bed membrane bioreactors coupled with microbial fuel cells for circular economy

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Published Sep 14, 2021
Ujwal Shreenag Meda
Shreya N M


Wastewater treatment has been a problem in modern society due to negligence. It has led to the depletion of freshwater resources for human consumption and it is inevitable to search for ways to treat the wastewater effectively and economically. Domestic and industrial wastewaters are not treated well before letting into the freshwater sources. The freshwater gets polluted due to the presence of organic and inorganic substances that are known to be mutagenic, carcinogenic, and harmful to the environment. The conventional wastewater treatment systems are energy-intensive and inefficient. The use of membrane bioreactors is one of the breakthroughs in the field of wastewater treatment, where microorganisms are used to produce energy from the biomass present in the wastewater and utilize it as a substrate for their growth and development. The metabolic cycles of these microbes produce electrons/ions that are utilized in electricity/energy generation respectively.

Anaerobic Fluidized Bed Membrane bioReactors (AFBMR) reduce the COD of the wastewater to a greater extent. These bioreactors not only treat the wastewater but also consume less energy when compared with the conventional methods of wastewater treatment. These promote the circular economy and sustainable development due to the utilization of greener technologies to treat organic and inorganic substances [1-3].

AFBMRs work on the principle of biosorption, a green, environment-friendly, and less energy-intensive wastewater treatment method. In biosorption, activated carbon granules are suspended in AFBMR. Low concentration pollutants present in the effluent get adsorbed on these granules. The efficiency of the process depends on the hydraulic retention time and plays an important role in the economics of the process.  The AFBMRs can be clubbed with microbial fuel cells where the feed to the AFBMR comes from the microbial fuel cells. This coupled system has the benefit of electricity generation from microbial fuel cells and removal of low concentration pollutants that remain in the wastewater leaving the microbial fuel cells [4].

This method uses very minimal energy and chemicals than the conventional wastewater treatment plants existing today. Microbial fuel cells alone cannot replace the conventional wastewater system as the cells cannot deal with the COD and BOD present in the wastewater.

How to Cite

Meda, U. S., & N M, S. . (2021). Wastewater treatment using anaerobic fluidized bed membrane bioreactors coupled with microbial fuel cells for circular economy. SPAST Abstracts, 1(01). Retrieved from https://spast.org/techrep/article/view/328
Abstract 7 |

Article Details


Anaerobic Fluidized Bed Membrane Bioreactors, Microbial Fuel Cells, Circular Economy, Wastewater Treatment, Electricity Generation

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ES: Environmental Sciences

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