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Biotic conversion of sulphate to sulphide and abiotic conversion of sulphide to sulphur in a microbial fuel cell using cobalt oxide octahedrons as cathode catalyst

Chatterjee, Pritha, Ghangrekar, M. M., Rao, Surampalli, Kumar, Senthil
Bioprocess and biosystems engineering 2017 v.40 no.5 pp. 759-768
catalysts, cathodes, chemical oxygen demand, cobalt oxide, harvesting, microbial fuel cells, organic matter, oxidation, pollution control, reaction kinetics, sulfates, sulfides, sulfur, wastewater
Varying chemical oxygen demand (COD) and sulphate concentrations in substrate were used to determine reaction kinetics and mass balance of organic matter and sulphate transformation in a microbial fuel cell (MFC). MFC with anodic chamber volume of 1 L, fed with wastewater having COD of 500 mg/L and sulphate of 200 mg/L, could harvest power of 54.4 mW/m², at a Coulombic efficiency of 14%, with respective COD and sulphate removals of 90 and 95%. Sulphide concentration, even up to 1500 mg/L, did not inhibit anodic biochemical reactions, due to instantaneous abiotic oxidation to sulphur, at high inlet sulphate. Experiments on abiotic oxidation of sulphide to sulphur revealed maximum oxidation taking place at an anodic potential of −200 mV. More than 99% sulphate removal could be achieved in a MFC with inlet COD/sulphate of 0.75, giving around 1.33 kg/m³ day COD removal. Bioelectrochemical conversion of sulphate facilitating sulphur recovery in a MFC makes it an interesting pollution abatement technique.