Microbial electrolysis cell to treat hydrothermal liquefied wastewater from cornstalk and recover hydrogen: Degradation of organic compounds and characterization of microbial community

Ruixia Shen, Zhidan Liu, Yanhong He, Yuanhui Zhang, Jianwen Lu, Zhangbing Zhu, Buchun Si, Chong Zhang, Xin Hui Xing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cornstalk, as an abundant renewable biomass resource, could be used for biocrude oil production through hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), however, recalcitrant wastewater is released as the main byproduct. This study reported the degradation of recalcitrant wastewater and simultaneous hydrogen production via a continuous up-flow fixed-bed microbial electrolysis cell (MEC). Chemical oxygen demand removal rates were over 60% under different applied voltages and the highest reached 80.2% at 1.2 V. Specifically, GC-MS analysis identified recalcitrant organic matter in HTL wastewater like dimethyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate were significantly removed in a ratio of 95.3% and 79.3% via this MEC. A hydrogen production rate of 3.92 mL/L/d was achieved at 1.0 V in the cathode, whereas the maximum power density (305.02 mW/m3) was obtained at 0.6 V. Illumina MiSeq sequencing revealed that the content of phylum Proteobacteria in anodic biofilm (70.19%) was much higher than the inoculum (20.38%). The dominant genus Xanthobacter (58.17%) in anodic biofilm was probably associated with the degradation of dimethyl phthalate. This work suggested that it is feasible to efficiently degrade recalcitrant wastewater from HTL of cornstalk and simultaneously produce hydrogen through MEC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4132-4142
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume41
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 23 2016

Keywords

  • Biohydrogen production
  • Cornstalk
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction
  • Microbial electrolysis cell
  • Recalcitrant wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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