The thesis is entitled “Physiological and Operation Strategies for Optimizing Geobacter-based Electrochemical Systems
Zulema Borjas has recently defended her doctoral thesis at the University of Alcalá.
The thesis is entitled “Physiological and Operation Strategies for Optimizing Geobacter-based Electrochemical Systems”. It is framed within the Doctoral Program in Hidrology and Water Resources Management, coordinated by the University of Alcalá, with the collaboration of IMDEA Water and the Rey Juan Carlos University. The thesis supervisor was Dr. Abraham Esteve Núñez, associated researcher at IMDEA Water.
The thesis has as its starting point the discovery of bacteria (e.g. Geobacter sulfurreducens) able to interact at redox scale with electrical conductive materials triggered the development of a new platform: the so-called Microbial Electrochemical Technologies (METs).
This PhD thesis explores new strategies for enhancing METs capacities by analysing parameters operating at both micro-scale and pre-pilot scale. Furthermore, the thesis has presented an optimized procedure based on merging Geobacter sulfurreducens electrochemistry with electrodialysis. The results obtained validate the pre-pilot system operation and the protocol for reducing the start-up period. This start-up protocol is not only optimized in time but also simplified in operation procedures making it a more feasible strategy for future scaling-up either as a single process or as a pre-treatment method combined with other well established desalination technologies such as reverse osmosis (RO) or reverse electrodialysis.
Zulema was predoctoral researcher at IMDEA Water Institute during the period 2012-2015