Integrating microbial electrolysis cell with anaerobic digestion to enhance resource recovery from waste activated sludge


Project Description

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a well-established biotechnology for generating methane from high-strength organic wastes such as waste activated sludge (WAS). However, several bottlenecks exist that hinder their widespread application such as low start-up time, low methane content and yield, and high susceptibility to environmental perturbation. One strategy to alleviate these bottlenecks is to integrate AD with microbial electrolysis cell (MEC). In MEC, acetoclastic electroactive bacteria (EAB) are considered the key functional groups responsible for recovering energy from acetate. In this project, we will study the effect of different start-up strategies with functionally redundant and efficient acetoclastic EAB on the performance of integrated MEC-AD fed with WAS.
Program - Environmental Science and Engineering
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Water Desalination and Reuse Center
Field of Study - environmental science and engineering

About the

Pascal Saikaly

Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering<br/>Chair, Environmental Science and Engineering Program

Pascal Saikaly
Professor Saikaly's research focuses on integrating cutting-edge -omic tools (genomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic) with bioprocess engineering to optimize and create sustainable biotechnologies for wastewater reclamation and reuse that are robust, scalable, and capable of providing tailored water quality with minimization of energy, resources, and carbon footprint. He is guided by the vision that gaining a better insight of the microbial ecology of microorganisms and the variables that affect their ecophysiology will allow us to fully harness their potential in environmental biotechnology.

His specific research interests include:
  • Integrating membrane-based microbial electrochemical technologies for domestic wastewater treatment with resource recovery (water and energy)
  • Aerobic granular sludge system for industrial wastewater treatment
  • Integrating anammox processes for mainstream wastewater treatment

Desired Project Deliverables

Develop start-up strategies to enhance performance of MEC-AD