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Development of ceramic microbial biofuel cells to generate electrical energy through urine

Grant number: 20/01627-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2020
Effective date (End): July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal researcher:Gustavo Pio Marchesi Krall Ciniciato
Grantee:Letícia Favero Carminati
Home Institution: Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia de São Paulo (IFSP). Campus Avaré. Avaré , SP, Brazil


This work will be dedicated to the construction, development and studies involving microbial fuel cells (MFC) in order to promote the generation of electrical energy using urine as fuel. This new system can be an opportunity to reduce the operating costs in water treatment, since the produced electrical energy can be used by the station itself. Considering this, MFC will be built using sludge from the municipal water treatment plant as a rich source of microorganisms, which will be added in the form of biofilm on carbon cloth as a bioanode. For the construction of the cathode, carbon cloth will be treated with a mixture of powdered carbon with teflon® (Polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE). To promote the separation of the electrodes and also electrolytic conduction, terracotta (modeled and baked clay) will be used, which will be modeled in a convenient format for fitting the bioelectrodes and adding the solutions. MFC's electric power generation capacity will be tested by polarization curves with the addition of carbon-rich components (glucose, lactate and acetate salts) as well as nitrogen-rich components (nitrate salts, ammonia and urea) as artificial substrates. Eventually, urine will be used as a real substrate. For its functioning with urine, not only the MFC's electricity production capacity will be taken into account, but also the ability to promote the treatment of the waste considering analyzes of pH, conductivity, color, turbidity, chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total ammoniacal nitrogen, concomitant with the functioning as an electrochemical apparatus.

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