Bioelecrochemical anaerobic sewage treatment technology (BEAST) for Arctic communities – progress report

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.5 Sanitation in small Arctic communities
Datetime Sep 05, 2018 03:00 PM - 03:10 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Boris Tartakovsky (National Research Council Canada, Canada), Andrew Colombo (National Research Council Canada, Canada), Yehuda Kleiner (National Research Council Canada, Canada)
Abstract text

This paper describes a novel wastewater treatment technology suitable for small remote northern communities. The technology is based on an enhanced biodegradation of organic carbon through a combination of anaerobic methanogenic and microbial electrochemical (bioelectrochemical) degradation processes leading to biomethane production. The microbial electrochemical degradation is achieved in a membraneless flow-through bioanode–biocathode setup operating at an applied voltage below the water electrolysis threshold.

Laboratory wastewater treatment tests conducted through a broad range of mesophilic and psychrophilic temperatures (5–23 °C) showed a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) removal efficiency of 90–97% and an effluent BOD5 concentration as low as 7 mg L−1. An electricity consumption of 0.6 kWh kg−1 of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removed was observed. Low energy consumption coupled with enhanced methane production led to a net positive energy balance in the bioelectrochemical treatment system.

The BEAST technology has been in development for a number of years and earlier efforts have been reported in previous Arctic-related conferences. This paper describes recent progress, including the construction, operation and lessons learnt from scale-up testing reactors.

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