Title: Bioelectrogenic treatments applied to wastewater treatment

Duration: 2010 - 2013

Research groups: Bioe


This collaboration project pursues three aims: to develop a natural wastewater purification system by means of bioelectrogenic wetlands; to establish an anaerobic bioelectrogenic treatment system for wastewaters and construct a bioelectrogenic removal system for nutrients (nitrogen). Bioelectrogenesis is a new process whereby determined bacteria can oxidise organic material and directly transfer the electrons generated to a conductive solid surface, such as graphite. This way, it is possible to generate and store clean energy. The use of aerobic microorganisms to remove organic matter from wastewaters is widespread, but entails two of the main problems currently associated with water treatments: the generation of biomass in the form of active sludge and the high energy cost of supplying oxygen to the biological system. The use of microbial anaerobic metabolism in water treatments is proposed as a viable alternative due to the lower biomass yield in these biological processes (less sludge produced) and the possibility of generating biogas (methane) that may be used as fuel for thermal and electrical energy generation. Methane presents the drawback that it is a greenhouse gas, even more toxic than CO2. In this sense, bioelectrogenesis offers the alternative of replacing methane generation by the production of clean electrical energy in the treatment plan.


Grant IPT-310000-2010-033 funded by: