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“NEW” resource recovery from wastewater using bioelectrochemical systems: Moving forward with functions

Jain, Akshay, He, Zhen
Frontiers of environmental science & engineering 2018 v.12 no.4 pp. 1
attitudes and opinions, bioelectrochemistry, electricity, electrodes, energy efficiency, microorganisms, niches, nutrients, research and development, wastewater, wastewater treatment
Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) have been extensively studied for resource recovery from wastewater. By taking advantage of interactions between microorganisms and electrodes, BES can accomplish wastewater treatment while simultaneously recovering various resources including nutrients, energy and water (“NEW”). Despite much progress in laboratory studies, BES have not been advanced to practical applications. This paper aims to provide some subjective opinions and a concise discussion of several key challenges in BES-based resource recovery and help identify the potential application niches that may guide further technological development. In addition to further increasing recovery efficiency, it is also important to have more focus on the applications of the recovered resources such as how to use the harvested electricity and gaseous energy and how to separate the recovered nutrients in an energy-efficient way. A change in mindset for energy performance of BES is necessary to understand overall energy production and consumption. Scaling up BES can go through laboratory scale, transitional scale, and then pilot scale. Using functions as driving forces for BES research and development will better guide the investment of efforts.