Microbial electrolysis: a promising approach for treatment and resource recovery from industrial wastewater

Yamini Koul, Viralkunvar Devda, Sunita Varjani*, Wenshan Guo, Huu Hao Ngo, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh, Jo Shu Chang, Jonathan W. C. WONG, Muhammad Bilal, Sang Hyoun Kim, Xuan Thanh Bui, Roberto Parra-Saldívar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Wastewater is one of the most common by-products of almost every industrial process. Treatment of wastewater alone, before disposal, necessitates an excess of energy. Environmental concerns over the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy have prompted a surge in demand for alternative energy sources and the development of sophisticated procedures to extract energy from unconventional sources. Treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater alone accounts for about 3% of global electricity use while the amount of energy embedded in the waste is at least 2–4 times greater than the energy required to treat the same effluent. The microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) is one of the most efficient technologies for waste-to-product conversion that uses electrochemically active bacteria to convert organic matter into hydrogen or a variety of by-products without polluting the environment. This paper highlights existing obstacles and future potential in the integration of Microbial Electrolysis Cell with other processes like anaerobic digestion coupled system, anaerobic membrane bioreactor and thermoelectric micro converter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8115-8134
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Early online date17 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology

User-Defined Keywords

  • anaerobic digestion
  • electrochemical technology
  • environmental sustainability
  • Industrial effluents
  • resources


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