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Biochemical Engineering Journal
Vol. 117, 2017, Pages: 8791

Microbial fuel cell fed by Barnett Shale produced water: Power production by hypersaline autochthonous bacteria and coupling to a desalination unit

Oihane Monzon, Yu Yang, Jun Kim, Amy Heldenbrand, Qilin Li, Pedro J.J. Alvarez

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.


Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas production can generate large volumes of highly saline produced waters that pose a significant disposal challenge and a potential opportunity for reuse. Here, we report on a microbial fuel cell (MFC) fed with produced water (Barnett Shale), which produced power (47 mW/m2) and accomplished a COD removal efficiency of 68% (influent COD 10,520 ± 1340 mg/L). Bacterial population analysis showed two autochthonous halophilic species colonizing the anode, H. praevalens and M. hydrocarbonoclasticus. In addition, we demonstrated that hypersaline MFCs (100 g/L NaCl) can produce electricity to power a capacitive deionization (CDI) device for desalination, with a salt adsorption capacity of up to 40 mg of salt per g of carbon electrode. This is the first report of a MFC operating with hypersaline produced water, and illustrates the potential to couple MFCs with CDI to enable desalination and reuse of hypersaline wastewaters.

Keywords: Microbial fuel cell; Produced water; High salinity; Desalination; H. praevalens; M. hydrocarbonoclasticus.

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