Three promising applications of microbial electrochemistry for the water sector
Journal article, 2017
Microbial electrochemical technologies are based on the interactions between living microorganisms and electrodes. There is a wide range of possible applications and many are highly relevant for the water sector. The most well-known is probably the microbial fuel cell, which has been proposed as an environmentally-friendly process for simultaneous wastewater treatment and electrical energy production. However, fullscale implementation at wastewater treatment plants is very challenging and there are several other applications of microbial electrochemistry that are less well-known to people outside the research field, but potentially could be widely applied and make an impact on the water sector in a shorter time perspective. In this paper, we highlight three such applications: (i) sensors for biochemical oxygen demand, volatile fatty acids and toxicity; (ii) in situ bioremediation of contaminated sites; and (iii) removal and recovery of metals from wastewaters, leachates and brines.