Perspective of harnessing energy from landfill leachate via microbial fuel cells: novel biofuels and electrogenic physiologies

Dong Wu, Ting Wang, Xinghua Huang, Jan Dolfing, Bing Xie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Organic carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur are highly concentrated in municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill leachate, which usually frustrates conventional leachate treatment technologies from the perspective of energy costs. Therefore, the possibility of converting leachate to a new energy source via microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology has been examined recently. This paper summarizes the power output and energy recovery efficiency of the leachate-fed MFCs according to different feeding patterns, cell structures, and loading rates. Also, we assess potential energy-generating chemicals in leachate like nitrogen and sulfur compounds and propose alternative pathways, which may lift strict ratios between organic carbon and nitrogen content in conventional denitrification of leachate and are expected to achieve a higher voltage than traditional organic-oxygen based cells. Although currently power output of leachate-fed MFCs is limited, it seems well possible that dynamic characteristics of MSW leachates and microbial physiologies underlying some bio-electrochemically efficient activities (e.g., direct interspecies electron transfer) could be stimulated in MFC systems to improve the present status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7827-7836
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume99
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

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