Function of Microbial Electrochemical Technology in Anaerobic Digestion using Sewage Sludge

하수슬러지를 이용한 혐기성소화조에서 미생물 전기화학기술의 역할

Tian, Dongjie;Lee, Beom;Park, Jungye;Jun, Hangbae

  • Received : 2016.03.18
  • Accepted : 2016.04.29
  • Published : 2016.05.30


Microbial electrochemical technology (MET) has recently been studied to improve the efficiency of a traditional anaerobic digestion (AD). The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of MET in the system when MET was combined with traditional AD (i.e., AD-MET). Electrodes used in the MET were Cu coated graphite electrodes. They were supplied with a voltage of 0.3 V. AD started to generate methane in 80 days. But AD-MET started to generate methane from the initial operation after the system started. It was observed that AD-MET reached steady state faster and produced higher methane yield than AD. During the steady state, the average daily methane productions in AD and AD-MET were 2.3L/d and 4.9L/d, respectively. Methane yields were 0.07-CH4/g‧CODre in AD and 0.25L-CH4/g‧CODre in AD-MET. In AD-MET, the production rates of total volatile fatty acids (TVFAs) and soluble chemical oxygen demand (SCOD) were 0.12 mg TVFAs/mg VS‧d and 0.35 mg SCOD/mg VS‧d, respectively. They were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those in AD. However, the concentrations of residual TVFAs in both systems were not significantly (p > 0.05) different from each other, confirming that methane conversion in AD-MET was greater than that in AD.


Alkalinity;Anaerobic digestion;Biogas;Methane;Microbial electrochemical technology


  1. Bo, T., Zhu, X., Zhang, L., Tao, Y., He, X., Li, D., and Yan, Z. (2014). A New Upgraded Biogas Production Process: Coupling Microbialelectrolysis Cell and Anaerobic Digestion in Single-Chamber, Barrel-Shape Stainless Steel Reactor, Electrochemistry Communications, 45, pp. 67-70.
  2. Ahring, B. K., Sandberg, M., and Angelidaki, I. (1995). Volatile Fatty Acids as Indicators of Process Imbalance in Anaerobic Digestors, Applied Microbiology Biotechnology, 43(3), pp. 559-565.
  3. Bougrier, C., Delgenes, J. P., and Carrere, H. (2006). Combination of Thermal Treatments and Anaerobic Digestion to Reduce Sewage Sludge Quantity and Improve Biogas Yield, Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 84(B4), pp. 280-284.
  4. Braguglia, C. M., Gianico, A., Gallipoli, A., and Mininni, G. (2015). The Impact of Sludge Pre-Treatments on Mesophilic and Thernophilic Anaerobic Digestion Efficiency : Role of the Organic Load, Chemical Engineering Journal, 270, pp. 362-271.
  5. Cheng, S., Xing, D., Call, D. F., and Logan, B. E. (2009). Direct Biological Conversion of Electrical Current into Methane by Electromethanogenesis, Environment Science Technology, 43(10), pp. 3953-3958.
  6. Eaton, A. D., Clesceri, L. S., and Greenberg, A. E. (1995). Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, Franson, M. A. H., 19th Edition, American Public Health Association, Washington.
  7. Jung, S. H. (2013). Practical Implementation of Microbial Fuel Cells for Bioelectrochemical Wastewater Treatment, Journal of the Korean Society of Urban Environment, 13(2) pp. 93-100.
  8. Guo, X., Liu, J., and Xiao, B. (2013). Bioelectrochemical Enhancement of Hydrogen and Methane Production from the Anaerobic Digestion of Sewage Sludge in Single-Chamber Membrane-Free Microbial Electrolysis Cells, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 38(3), pp. 1342-1347.
  9. Ha, B. Y. (2006). Enhancement Effect of High Intensity Ultrasound on the Anaerobic Digestion of Waste Sludge from Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant, Doctorate thesis, Dankook university. pp. 1-2. [Korean Literature]
  10. Jansen, J., La, C., Gruvberger, C., Hanner, N., Aspegren, H., and Svard, A. (2004). Digestion of Sludge and Organic Waste in the Sustainability Concept for Malmö, Sweden, Water Science and Technology, 49, pp. 163.
  11. Lauwers, A. M., Heinen, W., Leon, G. M., and Chris van der Drift. (1990). Early Stage in Biofilm Development in Methanogenic Fluidized Bed Reactors, Applied Microbiology Biotechnology, 33, pp. 352-358.
  12. Logan, B. E., Siegert, M., Matthew, D. Y., Douglas, F. C., Zhu, X., and Spormann, A. (2014). Comparison of Nonprecious Metal Cathode Materials for Methane Production by Electromethanogenesis, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2, pp. 910-917.
  13. Mata-Alvarez, J. (2005). Biomethanization of the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Wastes, Water Intelligence Online. 4.
  14. Ministry of Environment (MOE). (2013). Statistics of Sewerage, (Sewarage division), Ministry of Environment, pp. 1397-1423.
  15. Nikolaos, X. and Valeria, M. (2014), Performance and Bacterial Enrichment of Bioelectrochemical Systems During Methane and Acetate Production, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 39(36), 99. 21864-21875.
  16. Wang, A., Liu, W., Cheng, S., Xing, D., Zhou, J., and Logan, B. E. (2009). Source of Methane and Methods to Control its Formation in Single Chamber Microbial Electrolysis Cells, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 34(9), pp. 3653-3658.
  17. Pfeffer, J. T. (1974), Temperature Effects on Anaerobic Fermentation of Domestic Refuse, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 16(6), pp. 771-787.
  18. Speece, R. E. (1996). Anaerobic Biotechnology for Industrial Waste Waters, Anaerobic Biotechnology, 17, pp. 985-988.
  19. Sun, R., Zhou, A., Jia, J., Liang, Q., Liu, Q., Xing, D., and Ren, Z. (2015). Characterization of Methane Production and Microbial Community Shifts During Waste Activated Sludge Degradation in Microbial Electrolysis Cells, Bioresource Technology, 175, pp. 68-74.
  20. Wang, A., Liu, W., Ren, N., Cheng, H., and Lee, D. J. (2010). Reduced Internal Resistance of Microbial Electrolysis Cell as Factor of Configuration and Stuffing with Granular Activated Carbon, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 35(24), pp. 13448-13492.
  21. Zhang, J., Zhang, Y., Quan, X., Chen, S., and Afzal, S. (2013). Enhanced Anaerobic Digestion of Organic Contaminants Containing Diverse Microbial Population by Combined Microbial Electrolysis Cell (MEC) and Anaerobic Reactor under Fe(III) Reducing Conditions, Bioresource Technology, 136, pp. 273-280.
  22. Zhao, Q. and Kugel, G. (1996). Thermophilic/Mesophilic Digestion of Sewage Sludge and Organic Wastes, Environmental Science and Engineering and Taxicology, 31(9) pp. 2211-2231.
  23. Zhao, Z., Zhang, Y., Chen, S., Quan, X., and Yu, Q. (2014). Bioelectrochemical Enhancement of Anaerobic Methano-genesis for High Organic Load Rate Wastewater Treatment in a Up-Flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket(UASB) Reactor, Nature Reviews Cardiology, 4, pp. 6658.

Cited by

  1. Microbial communities change in an anaerobic digestion after application of microbial electrolysis cells vol.234, 2017,
  2. Evaluation of Biogas Production Rate by using Various Electrodes Materials in a Combined Anaerobic Digester and Microbial Electrochemical Technology (MET) vol.39, pp.2, 2017,