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Waste to Energy Conversion and Sustainable Recovery of Nutrients from Pee Power - Recent Advancements in Urine-Fed MFCs

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 7 ]


Natarajan Narayanan, Vasudevan Mangottiri* and Kiruba Narayanan   Pages 768 - 779 ( 12 )


Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) offer a sustainable solution for alternative energy production by employing microorganisms as catalysts for direct conversion of chemical energy of feedstock into electricity. Electricity from urine (urine-tricity) using MFCs is a promising cost-effective technology capable of serving multipurpose benefits - generation of electricity, waste alleviation, resource recovery and disinfection. As an abundant waste product from human and animal origin with high nutritional values, urine is considered to be a potential source for extraction of alternative energy in the coming days. However, developments to improve power generation from urine-fed MFCs at reasonable scales still face many challenges such as non-availability of sustainable materials, cathodic limitations, and low power density. The aim of this paper was to critically evaluate the state-of-the-art research and developments in urine-fed MFCs over the past decade (2008-2018) in terms of their construction (material selection and configuration), modes of operation (batch, continuous, cascade, etc.) and performance (power generation, nutrient recovery and waste treatment). This review identifies the preference for sources of urine for MFC application from human beings, cows and elephants. Among these, human urine-fed MFCs offer a variety of applications to practice in the real-world scenario. One key observation is that, effective disinfection can be achieved by optimizing the operating conditions and MFC configurations without compromising on performance. In essence, this review demarcates the scope of enhancing the reuse potential of urine for renewable energy generation and simultaneously achieving resource recovery.


Bioenergy, disinfection, microbial fuel cells, nutrient extraction, resource recovery, urine, waste to energy.


Department of Civil Engineering, Dr. Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology, Pollachi - 642003, Tamil Nadu, Department of Civil Engineering, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam - 638401, Tamil Nadu, Department of Civil Engineering, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam - 638401, Tamil Nadu

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