Pyrolysed almond shells used as electrodes in microbial electrolysis cell
Área de conocimiento
Título de la revista
Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery
The large cost of components used in microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) reactors represents an important limitation that is delaying the commercial implementation of this technology. In this work, we explore the feasibility of using pyrolysed almond shells (PAS) as a material for producing low-cost anodes for use in MEC systems. This was done by comparing the microbial populations that developed on the surface of PAS bioanodes with those present on the carbon felt (CF) bioanodes traditionally used in MECs. Raw almond shells were pyrolysed at three different temperatures, obtaining the best conductive material at the highest temperature (1000 °C). The behaviour of this material was then verified using a single-chamber cell. Subsequently, the main test was carried out using two-chamber cells and the microbial populations extant on each of the bioanodes were analysed. High-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene for eubacterial populations was carried out in order to compare the microbial communities attached to each type of electrode. The microbial populations on each electrode were also quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (realtime PCR) to determine the amount of bacteria capable of growing on the electrodes’surface. The results indicated that the newly developed PAS bioanodes possess a biofilm similar to those found on the surface of traditional CF electrodes. This research was possible thanks to the financial support of the Junta de Castilla y León, and was financed by European Regional Development Funds (LE320P18). C. B. thanks the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte for support in the form of an FPI fellowship grant (Ref #: BES-2016-078329).
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