Microbial fuel cells for clogging assessment in constructed wetlands
Rights accessOpen Access
Clogging in HSSF CW may result in a reduction of system's life-span or treatment efficiency. Current available techniques to assess the degree of clogging in HSSF CW are time consuming and cannot be applied on a continuous basis. Main objective of this work was to assess the potential applicability of microbial fuel cells for continuous clogging assessment in HSSF CW. To this aim, two replicates of a membrane-less microbial fuel cell (MFC) were built up and operated under laboratory conditions for five weeks. The MFC anode was gravel-based to simulate the filter media of HSSF CW. MFC were weekly loaded with sludge that had been accumulating for several years in a pilot HSSF CW treating domestic wastewater. Sludge loading ranged from ca. 20 kg TS·m- 3 CW·year- 1 at the beginning of the study period up to ca. 250 kg TS·m- 3 CW·year- 1 at the end of the study period. Sludge loading applied resulted in sludge accumulated within the MFC equivalent to a clogging degree ranging from 0.2 years (ca. 0.5 kg TS·m–3CW) to ca. 5 years (ca. 10 kg TS·m–3CW). Results showed that the electric charge was negatively correlated to the amount of sludge accumulated (degree of clogging). Electron transference (expressed as electric charge) almost ceased when accumulated sludge within the MFC was equivalent to ca. 5 years of clogging (ca. 10 kg TS·m–3CW). This result suggests that, although longer study periods under more realistic conditions shall be further performed, HSSF CW operated as a MFC has great potential for clogging assessment.
CitationCorbella, C., Garcia, J., Puigagut, J. Microbial fuel cells for clogging assessment in constructed wetlands. "Science of the total environment", Novembre 2016, vol. 569-570, p. 1060-1063.