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Microbial Electrolytic Carbon Capture for Carbon Negative and Energy Positive Wastewater Treatment

Energy and carbon neutral wastewater management is a major goal for environmental sustainability, but current progress has only reduced emission rather than using wastewater for active CO2 capture and utilization. We present here a new microbial electrolytic carbon capture (MECC) approach to potentially transform wastewater treatment to a carbon negative and energy positive process. Wastewater was used as an electrolyte for microbially assisted electrolytic production of H2 and OH– at the cathode and protons at the anode. The acidity dissolved silicate and liberated metal ions that balanced OH–, producing metal hydroxide, which transformed CO2 in situ into (bi)carbonate. Results using both artificial and industrial wastewater show 80–93% of the CO2 was recovered from both CO2 derived from organic oxidation and additional CO2 injected into the headspace, making the process carbon-negative. High rates and yields of H2 were produced with 91–95% recovery efficiency, resulting in a net energy gain of 57–62 kJ/...

Authors:   Lu Lu; Zhe Huang; Greg H. Rau; Zhiyong Jason Ren
Journal:   Environmental Science & Technology
Year:   2015
DOI:   10.1021/acs.est.5b00875
Publication date:   24-Jun-2015
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