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Environmental decontamination using photocatalytic fuel cells and photoelectrocatalysis‐microbial fuel cells

He, Rui, Liu, Lifen, Shi, Peng, Nie, Cheng
Journal of chemical technology and biotechnology 2018 v.93 no.11 pp. 3336-3346
aeration, bioanodes, cathodes, chromium, cost effectiveness, cyclodextrins, decontamination, energy, graphene oxide, heavy metals, indium, liquids, metal ions, microbial fuel cells, photocatalysis, pollutants, potassium permanganate, remediation, sand, silver, silver chloride, sulfides, tetracycline, washing, water pollution, zinc
BACKGROUND: To decontaminate sites of pollutants, fuel cell and bio‐electrochemical fuel cell reactors can degrade pollutants and generate electricity simultaneously, potentially decrease cost, energy consumptions and treatment cycle. In this study, a photocatalytic fuel cell (PFC) and PEC‐MFC (integrated photo‐electro‐catalysis with microbial fuel cell) were investigated to decontaminate sand/water polluted by RhB, antibiotics and heavy metal ions. RESULTS: In the PFC, paired electrodes with ZnIn₂S₄‐AgAgCl/GO or ZnIn₂S₄‐RGO/MnO₂, effectively removed pollutants in sand/water. The removal of RhB was 95.6% in 100 min with an external resistance of 1 Ω under aeration. Adding cyclo‐dextrin increased pollutant removals, realized 66% removal of RhB in overlying water, and significant removal in sand after 5 h, and 70% removal of tetracycline in overlying water, but only 60% without cyclodextrin after 4 h. Adding KMnO₄ and NaHSO₃ promoted decontamination of tetracycline from sand/water, tetracycline in water was almost completely degraded in 3.5 h with the addition, but only about 65% without any addition. In the PEC‐MFC, integrating photo‐electro‐catalytic electrode with bio‐anode, Cr(VI) in the cathode chamber was reduced rapidly and the concentration of RhB in sand decreased quickly, nearly complete in 2 h. The Cr(VI) in sand was reduced in several hours, so that, compared with previous reports, the treatment time is significantly shortened. CONCLUSION: The PFC and PEC‐MFC systems are successful in decontaminating sand/water in polluted sites and are cost‐effective and sustainable methods. By building an on‐site or off‐site system with washing and cycling of the liquid stream, it could be a convenient remediation method for polluted sites. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry