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Bioresource Technology
Vol. 179, 2015, Pages: 615–618

Enhancing the bioremediation by harvesting electricity from the heavily contaminated sediments

Yonggang Yang, Zijiang Lu, Xunke Lin, Chunyu Xia, Guoping Sun, Yingli Lian, Meiying Xu

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Microbial Culture Collection and Application, Guangdong Institute of Microbiology, Guangzhou, China.


To test the long-term applicability of scaled-up sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) in simultaneous bioremediation of toxic-contaminated sediments and power-supply for electronic devices, a 100 L SMFC inoculate with heavily contaminated sediments has been assembled and operated for over 2 years without external electron donor addition. The total organic chemical (TOC) degradation efficiency was 22.1% in the electricity generating SMFCs, which is significantly higher than that in the open-circuited SMFC (3.8%). The organic matters including contaminants in the contaminated sediments were sufficient for the electricity generation of SMFCs, even up to 8.5 years by the present SMFC theoretically. By using a power management system (PMS), the SMFC electricity could be harvested into batteries and used by commercial electronic devices. The results indicated that the SMFC–PMS system could be applied as a long-term and effective tool to simultaneously stimulate the bioremediation of the contaminated sediments and supply power for commercial devices.

Keywords: Bioremediation; Sediments; Microbial fuel cells; Power management system.

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