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Microbial Fuel Cells in Solid Waste Valorization: Trends and Applications

Chapter

Abstract

In recent years, biomass valorization (and, in general, waste treatment) and FC technology met in the so-called bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). BESs take advantage of biological capacities (microbes, enzymes, plants) for the catalysis of electrochemical reactions. They mainly include micro-electrolysis Cell (MECs) and microbial fuel cells (MFCs). While MECs can produce valuable compounds (like H2, CH4, etc.), providing a suitable potential at the electrodes, MFCs do not need any energetic input to convert chemical energy (stored in organic compounds) into electric power. In this “biologically-based-fuel–cells,” the fuel is made by different sources of organic compounds. Landfill leachate, municipal and agro-industrial wastewaters, sediments, solid organic wastes can be source of electric power and commodity chemicals. The use of MFC technology to waste treatment and valorization is, maybe, the most promising application of this newborn technology. Even though many researchers proved the reliable utilization of liquid waste as fuel in scaled MFCs, few attempts to apply MFCs to solid waste valorization have been done. In this paper, recent studies about the application of MFCs to solid substrates treatment and valorization and the contribution that BESs and MFC in particular could give to the development of a more sustainable waste management.

Keywords

Organic fraction of municipal solid waste Microbial fuel cell Waste treatment Waste-to-energy technology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering of the Enterprise Mario LucertiniUniversity of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringParthenope University of NaplesNaplesItaly

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