A Novel Microbial Electrolysis Cell Method for Wastewater Treatment, H2 Fuel Production, and By-Product Manipulation
Andy Luo
Gladstone Secondary
Floor Location : M 053 V

This novel MEC approach utilizes the simple behaviour and laws of parallel circuits to power greater amounts of bioreactors simultaneously to reduce cost, time, energy, and multiplies the efficiency of wastewater removal and hydrogen fuel production. A $2.00 small-scale MEC was made to produce hydrogen fuel and clean wastewater for big-scale implementations. Hydrogen fuel was produced at the top of the cell from the decomposition of water into its separate oxygen and hydrogen ions due to even the small electrical current input. The bacteria in the cell react and catalyze chemical reactions between the wastewater to produce different by-products depending on the microbe species, but also play an important role in decreasing the amount of energy needed to break the oxygen-hydrogen ion bonds between water to produce hydrogen. The goal of hydrogen fuel production is to prevent CO2 emissions from the fossil fuels used to create oil for our cars because the only by-product of hydrogen in fuel cells is harmless, clean water.

Bacteria to wastewater chemical reactions and the by-products they produced were researched to implement a novel by-product manipulation approach for different types of wastewater, so we can understand how to clean all types of wastewater contaminants. If different microbes constantly produce a certain by-product, eventually we’ll be able to use the by-products the bacteria-to-wastewater chemical reactions produce, to predict which microbe species is perfect for every type of wastewater contaminant which is majorly lacking in microbiology fields dealing with how to treat different types of wastewater.

A gas chromatography machine was used to calculate the height peaks of hydrogen gas in each MEC compared to a known standard amount of hydrogen gas. The molar concentrations of wastewater containing toxic hydrogen sulphide (H2S), was calculated using a spectrophotometry machine and Cuvvette’s coefficient to find the decrease in H2S overtime. Anodic modifications were made because based on data run over several weeks, the more surface area on the anodic materials, the quicker the by-products were created due to the increase of electrical current densities.

In the future, I hope that these novel electrically modified circuits, wastewater treatment with simultaneous hydrogen fuel production, and by-product manipulation methods will allow wastewater treatment to be easy and efficient while producing alternative fuels, and not require time consuming testing to be done between which microbe is preferably used for an uncountable number of wastewater situations.