Enhanced Electrochemical Treatment of Phenanthrene-polluted Soil using Microbial Fuel Cells
In this study, tubular microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were inserted into phenanthrene-contaminated water-logged soil in order to evaluate their treatment efficiency and overall system performance within 60 days’ incubation period. At day 10, phenanthrene degradation rates were found to decrease with increasing distance from the anodes from 50-55 % at 2 cm to 38-40 % at 8 cm. Bromate (used as a catholyte) removal in both MFCs was about 80-95 % on average which is significantly higher than the open circuit controls (15-40 %) over the 60day period. Total chemical oxygen demand removal (72.8 %) in MFCs amended with surfactants was significantly higher than MFCs without surfactant (20 %). This suggests that surfactant addition may have enhanced bioavailability of not only phenanthrene, but other organic matter present in the soil. The outcomes of this work has demonstrated the simultaneous removal of phenanthrene (86%) and bromate (95%) coupled with concomitant bioelectricity generation (about 4.69 mWm-2) using MFC systems within a radius of influence (ROI) up to 8 cm. MFC technology may be used for in situ decontamination of soils due to its potential detoxification capacity and could be deployed directly as a prototype-MFC design in field applications.
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