Enhanced bioenergy and nutrients recovery from wastewater using hybrid anodes in microbial nutrient recovery system

Kanwal Shahid*, Deepika Lakshmi Ramasamy, Parminder Kaur, Mika Sillanpää, Arto Pihlajamäki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: The combined microbial fuel cell–microbial nutrient recovery system has lately been thoroughly explored from an engineering standpoint. The relevance of microbial communities in this process, on the other hand, has been widely underestimated. Results: A lab-scale microbial nutrients recovery system was created in this work, and the microbial community structure was further defined, to give a thorough insight into the important microbial groups in the present system. We reported for the first-time different hybrid anodes of activated carbon and chitosan that were used in the microbial nutrient recovery system for bioenergy production, and, for the removal of COD and recovery of nutrients present in the wastewater. The hybrid anodic materials were studied to adapt electrochemically active bacteria for the recovery of nutrients and energy generation from wastewater without the need for an external source of electricity. The potential of the created hybrid anodes in terms of nutrients recovery, chemical oxygen demand elimination, and energy generation from municipal wastewater was thoroughly examined and compared with each other under similar operating conditions. When the COD loading was 718 mg/L, a total COD removal of ~ 79.2% was achieved with a hybrid activated carbon and chitosan anode having an equal ratio after 10 days of the operation cycle. The maximum power density estimated for hybrid anode (~ 870 mWm−2) was found. Conclusion: Overall, this work reveals a schematic self-driven way for the collection and enrichment of nutrients (~ 72.9% phosphorus recovery and ~ 73% ammonium recovery) from municipal wastewater, as well as consistent voltage production throughout the operation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Air cathode
  • Hybrid anodes
  • Microbial fuel cell
  • Microbial nutrient recovery cell
  • Nutrients recovery


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