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The goal of this research is to understudy the use of microbial fuel cell in the effective treatment of waste water. This paper discusses the laboratory construction of microbial fuel cell to treat water, its operation based on previous published model. A two-chambered microbial fuel cell system of 21litres was developed for the treatment of the domestic wastewater with an initial BOD of 6.0mg/l, COD 6.36mg/l, DO 5.3mg/l and voltage 0.0volts. These parameters were analyzed using the linear regression model y=c+bx and the quadratic regression model y=a_0+a_1 x+a_2 x^2. There was adequate removal from parameters measures initially to show that there is a potential for the implementation of microbial fuel cell and the substrate tends to behave in a more quadratic form than linear manner.





Wastewater has been one of the main environmental problem for a long time now. For this reason treatment of the wastewater to reduce the pollution has been going on. Wastewater treatment has developed and graduated through various levels from the traditional to the advanced state of wastewater treatment. The conventional treatment are categorized into; the primary, secondary and tertiary method. The primary method is the physical wastewater treatment where physical methods are used in treating the wastewater and making its quality better. In this method, no chemicals or biological processes are involved and it is divided into sedimentation, aeration and filtration. The secondary method which is the biological wastewater treatment which decompose the wastewater biochemically and improve the quality of the water to encourage the domestic usage of the water. Biological water treatment is categorized into three which are aerobic, anaerobic and composting. And the third method which is the tertiary method is the chemical wastewater treatment process in which chemicals are used and the commonly used chemical is chlorine and the method in which chlorine is used is called chlorination. Chlorine is the oxidizing chemical used to kill off the bacteria which decomposes water by adding contaminants to it. Beyond the tertiary treatment processes, development introduced higher technology process known as advanced wastewater treatment. They include membrane treatment technology such as microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and biofiltration. Microfiltration which is a type of physical filtration process where a contaminated water i.e. wastewater is passed over a special pore-liked member to separate microorganisms and particles from process liquid.

Ultrafiltration is a membrane filtration process whereby different forces like pressure or concentration gradients lead to a separation through a semi-permeable membrane. Suspended solid and solutes of high molecular weight are retained in the so-called retentate, meanwhile water and low molecular weight solutes pass through the membrane in the permeate.

Nano-filtration is a relatively recent membrane filtration process used mostly with low total dissolved solids water like surface water and fresh groundwater with the purpose of softening and removal of disinfection by-product precursors such as natural organic matter and synthetic organic matter.

Bio-filtration is a water treatment technique using a bioreactor containing living materials to secure and biologically degrade pollutants in water processing.

Microbial fuel cell or biological fuel cell is a bio-electrochemical system that drives an electric current using bacteria and mimicking bacterial interactions found in nature.

Currently wastewater treatment systems are mostly based on well-established activated sludge process in most parts of the world. While activated sludge process produces higher results with quick processing times, the process is chemical and energy demanding high capital and operation/maintenance costs (Sustarsic, 2009). Activated sludge process requires aeration which can count up to 75% of wastewater treatment plant energy costs, while the treatment and disposal of sludge may count up to about 60% of the total operation costs. For example the United States spends approximately $25 billion annually on domestic wastewater treatment, and another $300 billion is needed for improving publicly owned treatment works (USEPA, 2008).

On the other hand, anaerobic treatment has been practiced for high strength wastewaters and various industrial. This technology has been developed over the years to treat wastewater successfully while recovery valuable bioenergy (Visvanathan and Abeynayaka, 2012). Conventionally, energy is extracted from wastewater through anaerobic digestion in the form of biogas which requires additional separation and purification steps. An estimated 628-4940 million kWh could be saved annually by anaerobic digestion if all wastewater treatment plants could use the biogas produced (Stillwater, 2009).


Domestic wastewater is usually discharged into drainages which produces pungent smell and pollutes the environment in some cases, thereby causing harm to the environment and its inhabitant. To this effect, there is the need to curb this environmental problem to promote healthy living amongst the populace of the environment while reducing water wastage by promoting wastewater treatment and reuse.

The use of microbial fuel cell in the treatment of wastewater is very necessary since the increasing human activities are consuming more water and there is the need to reuse these wastewaters, as well as reducing energy requirement for wastewater treatment and some cases producing alternate electricity by so doing reducing the amount of pollution that would have been generated into the environment in cause of generating electricity using fossil fuel hence avoiding climate change and global warming.

For these reasons, in these work MFC is experimentally used to treat domestic wastewater and determine the kinetics of the substrate utilization in the treated wastewater. Also, the electricity generated in course of the treatment measured.


1.3.1 Aim:

To understudy the use of MFC to treat wastewater to a state of reuse as well as substrate utilization in microbial fuel cell and the subsequent generation of electricity.

1.3.2 Objectives:

  1. To treat domestic waste water using cheaper means.
  2. To construct a workable or suitable MFC that can handle the treatment  of domestic sullage.
  3. To demonstrate practically that it works.
  4. To know the rate of substrate utilization in MFC.
  5. To identify the amount of current generated from the wastewater.


This research work, wastewater treatment and substrate utilization in microbial fuel cell is limited to

The use of domestic sullage.

Collection of domestic wastewater,

Construction of a double chambered microbial fuel cell.

Wastewater quality analysis in influence and affluence water.

Measurement of the voltage and current generated.


The significance of this study is as follows;

  1. This study will help to solve the problem of treating domestic wastewater through cheaper and affordable means.
  2. This study will help to reduce the environment impact of domestic wastewater.


Just as every research work, some limitations were encountered which are   stated below;

Finance: finance is one of the limitations in this study as the economy of the nation is dwindling and scarcity of money rocks the state.

Research materials: research materials were also one the problems encountered since research materials on the topic was scarce as a result of little or no research on the subject matter.

Time constraints: Time was another problem, since the researchers have to combine class activities with the research work and as a result there was limited time for carry out the research.


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