A photosynthetic algal microbial fuel cell for treating swine wastewater

  • Ying Zhang
  • Yingying Zhao
  • Minghua ZhouEmail author
Research Article


A photosynthetic algal (Chlorella vulgaris) microbial fuel cell (PAMFC) with double chambers was adopted for power production and removal of carbon and nitrogen in swine sewerage that could provide nutrients for the growth of C. vulgaris. C. vulgaris was expected to utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) delivered from the anode chamber and generate oxygen as an electron acceptor by photosynthesis. PAMFC presented a maximum voltage output of 0.747 V and a maximum power density of 3720 mW/m3 at 240 h, much higher than that of the standalone MFC. 85.6%, 70.2%, and 93.9% removal of ammonia nitrogen, total nitrogen (TN), and total organic carbon (TOC), respectively, were obtained in the anode chamber of the PAMFC system, while the corresponding removal in MFC was 83.1%, 56.0%, and 87.2%, respectively. PAMFC also presented a much higher removal of ammonia nitrogen (68.7%) in the cathode chamber than MFC (47.5%). The results indicated the superiority of the PAMFC device for carbon and nitrogen removal.


Photosynthetic algal microbial fuel cell Chlorella vulgaris Power production Ammonia nitrogen Total nitrogen Total organic carbon 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO. 91545126, 21773129, 21806081, 21811530274 and 51178225), the International Cooperation Projects of Ministry of Science and Technology (42-8), 111 program, the Ministry of Education of China (T2017002), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yingying Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Minghua Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Pollution Process and Environmental Criteria, Ministry of Education, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Tianjin Key Laboratory of Urban Ecology Environmental Remediation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Tianjin Advanced Water Treatment Technology International Joint Research Center, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  4. 4.Tianjin Key Laboratory of Environmental Technology for Complex Trans-Media Pollution, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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