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
Presenter
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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