New Tech SCIENCE

New technology helps to generate electricity from wastewater

Russian scientists are developing new micro-fuel cell technology (MFCs) that can help generate electricity through the oxidation of organic matter by special microorganisms.

The research results of scientists at the University of Chemical Technology of Russia D. Mendeleev (MUCTR) have been published in the journal Energies.

The capabilities of these devices have recently increased significantly, and scientists consider combining it with wastewater treatment systems as a promising source of green energy.

Some microorganisms are able to forage in an oxygen-free environment by oxidizing organic matter while releasing electrons to the outside environment.

In the early twentieth century, scientists tried to use such microorganisms to generate electricity, but until recently, the power of MFCs was not significant. Microbial batteries can run on a variety of organic matter, including wastewater or industrial waste.

The scientists explained that finding the optimal MFCs configuration is not an easy task, requiring mathematical modeling taking into account the electrode material, the organic matter concentration and the feeding rate, pH of the medium, system shape and other factors.

“We have developed a comprehensive model of MFCs overcoming analogues in detail, which simultaneously calculates the growth of microbial populations, the rate of consumption and the formation of organic matter. Easy to oxidize, proton electric mobility between electrodes, diffusion of the electro-mechanical components of the electrochemical reaction.

Using this model, we calculated the new fundamental laws of the system and optimized one of the key characteristics – the concentration of organic matter, “said associate professor Violetta Vasilenko from the University of Technology. Chemical D. Mendeleev of Russia said.

A glucose solution in a salt mixture is used as battery matrix. The source of microorganisms is the activated sludge used to treat wastewater.

The scientists refined the values ​​of the parameters embedded in the model based on the experimental results and then used the model to calculate the optimal concentration of glucose in the nutrient solution. Similarly, other important MFCs parameters can be optimized using the proposed model.

According to Anatoly Antipov, a lead researcher at the Department of Chemistry at Lomonosov Moscow University, the demand for generators using renewable organic materials is constantly increasing amid rising electricity consumption. regular.

“The activity of MFCs is determined by a complex set of factors, from the development of the microbial medium to the kinetics of the electrode reactions that take place. Thus, the testing optimization of MFCs is optimized.” often becomes an extremely large task. Models created by colleagues from MUCTR help to select key parameters based on mathematical predictions, thus significantly reducing experimental volume, “Anatoly Antipov said. know.

In the future, MUCTR scientists are planning to use the new model to develop a hybrid system for wastewater treatment with synchronous electricity generation.

The study was conducted by scientists from the Faculty of Information Computer Technology and the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Chemical Technology D. Mendeleev of Russia together with researchers from the Frumkin Institute of Physics and Electrochemicals. of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPCE RAS) and the University of Genoa (Italy)

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