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Award Abstract #1265144

I-Corps: Microbial Fuel Cells for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment and Energy Generation

Div Of Industrial Innovation & Partnersh
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Initial Amendment Date: September 27, 2012
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Latest Amendment Date: September 27, 2012
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Award Number: 1265144
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Rathindra DasGupta
IIP Div Of Industrial Innovation & Partnersh
ENG Directorate For Engineering
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Start Date: October 1, 2012
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End Date: September 30, 2013 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $50,000.00
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Investigator(s): Hong Liu liuh@engr.orst.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-8507 (541)737-4933
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NSF Program(s): I-Corps
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Program Reference Code(s):
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Program Element Code(s): 8023


Wastewater treatment accounts for about 3% of electrical energy consumed in U.S and other developed countries. Decentralized wastewater treatment is at the forefront of the wastewater industry discussion and is starting to be implemented by small municipalities and cities across the U.S. due to the need to cost effectively relieve pressure on the current wastewater treatment infrastructure. Microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology has emerged as a potential clean technology for renewable energy production and decentralized wastewater treatment. Relatively low power density has been the greatest challenge for practical application of MFC technology in wastewater treatment. Recently, researchers have advanced this technology by developing a reactor design (CEA-MFC) that significantly increases the power density. In this project, the team will fabricate a demonstration CEA-MFC. Successful completion of the project will result in better understanding of key factors surrounding widespread use of this technology.

The performance of CEA-MFCs demonstrates the great potential of MFC technology in converting wastewater treatment from an energy consumer to a net energy producer, as well as reducing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse emission related to waste treatment. Within the U.S. this could have benefits to the U.S. municipal infrastructure, industry and agriculture. This technology could also be beneficial to developing countries as they work to build infrastructure and improve sanitation and availability of power.


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