Carrie Ross, Electrical Current Generation and Organic Matter Degradation in Bacterial Batteries Metabolizing Raw Sewage
Faculty Chair: Dr. Henry Spratt
Bacterial batteries are proven sources of electrical energy and have been used with varying carbon sourced to generate electrical current. Previous work in this lab has described the use of both raw sewage and sewage sludge as fuels for bacterial batteries. The main goal of this study was to determine of further modifications of bacterial battery design might lead to enhanced electricity production at the expense of organic matter present in raw sewage. These battery cells were modified by isolating the aerobic cathodes from the anoxic anodes in separate tanks, connecting these electrodes via conductive bridges. Six battery cells were set up, with two sets differing in the surface are of the electrodes. All six batteries were connected to electric meters that monitored the energy production of the battery cells. Raw sewage, obtained from Chattanooga, Tennessee sewage treatment plant, was added to the anode tanks approximately every two weeks. In addition to the electrical current production, which was continuously monitored, water samples were collected from the raw sewage and the tanks at various times for chemical assessments. These chemical assessments include dissolved O2, PH, the cells in the 10 mA range. However, in a previous version these batteries generated current in the mA range. Additional modifications to the design of the cells will be tested to attempt to increase current generation and to determine the possible impacts that these changes may have on the chemical parameters being tested.