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Journal of Environmental Management
Volume 291, 2021, 112723

A taxonomy of design factors in constructed wetland-microbial fuel cell performance: A review

Atieh Ebrahimia, Muttucumaru Sivakumara, Craig McLauchlanb

School of Civil, Mining, and Environmental Engineering, University of Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia.


The past decade has seen the rapid development of constructed wetland-microbial fuel cell (CW-MFC) technology in many aspects. The first publication on the combination of constructed wetland (CW) and microbial fuel cell (MFC) appeared in 2012, subsequently, research on the subject has grown exponentially to improve the performance of CW-MFCs in their dual roles of wastewater treatment and power generation. Although significant research has been conducted on this technology worldwide, a comprehensive and critical review of effective controlling parameters is lacking. More broadly, research is needed to draw up-to-date conclusions on recent developments and to identify knowledge gaps for further studies. This review paper systematically enumerates and reviews research studies published in this area to determine the key design factors and their role in CW-MFC performance. Moreover, a taxonomy of all CW-MFC design parameters has been synthesised from the literature. Importantly, this original work provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for future researchers, designers, builders, and users to understand CW-MFC technology. Within the taxonomy, parameters are placed in three main categories (physical/environmental, chemical, and biological/electrochemical) and comprehensive details are given for each parameter. Finally, a comprehensive summary of the parameters has been tabulated showing their impact on CW-MFC operation, design recommendations from literature, and the significant research gaps that this review has identified within the existing literature. It is hoped that this paper will provide a clear and rich picture of this technology at its current stage of development and furthermore, will facilitate a deeper understanding of CW-MFC performance for long-term and large-scale development.

Keywords: Constructed wetland, Design parameters, Microbial fuel cell, Power generation, Wastewater treatment.

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