Sustainable power generation from floating macrophytes based ecological microenvironment through embedded fuel cells along with simultaneous wastewater treatment.
ABSTRACT Miniatured floating macrophyte based ecosystem (FME) designed with Eichornia as the major biota was evaluated for bioelectricity generation and wastewater treatment. Three fuel cell assemblies (non-catalyzed electrodes) embedded in FME were evaluated with domestic sewage and fermented distillery wastewater in continuous mode for 210 days. Fermented distillery effluents from biohydrogen production (dark-fermentation) process exhibited effective power generation with simultaneous waste remediation. Two fuel cell assemblies (A1 and A2) showed effective bioelectricity generation. Increasing the organic load of wastewater showed good correlation with both power generation (A1, 211.14 mA/m(2); A2, 224.93 mA/m(2)) and wastewater treatment (COD removal, 86.67% and VFA removal 72.32%). Combining A1 and A2 assemblies depicted stabilized performance with respect to current and voltage along with significant decrease in ohmic and activation losses. FME also exhibited effective removal of nitrates, colour and turbidity from wastewater. The studied miniatured ecological system facilitates both energy generation and wastewater treatment with a sustainable perspective.