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Assessment of a novel overflow-type electrochemical membrane bioreactor (EMBR) for wastewater treatment, energy recovery and membrane fouling mitigation.


A novel overflow-type electrochemical membrane bioreactor (EMBR) without ion exchange membrane, was developed for wastewater treatment and utilized electricity recovered by microbial fuel cell (MFC) for membrane fouling mitigation in membrane bioreactor (MBR). The maximum power density of 629mW/m(3) or 7.18mW/m(2) was obtained. The removal efficiencies of chemical oxygen demand, ammonia nitrogen and total nitrogen under appropriate ranges of hydraulic retention times (16.9-8.5h) were 92.6±5.4%, 96.5±2.8% and 73.9±9.7%, respectively. Sequencing showed electrochemically active bacteria Lactococcus, Bacillus and Saprospiraceae_uncultured were abundant in the biofilm. Compared with a conventional MBR, five significant effects of the MFC integration on the sludge properties, including particle zeta potential decrease, particle size distribution macroaggregation, soluble microbial products and extracellular polymeric substances reduction and SMPP/SMPC ratio increase, were achieved in this system, leading to membrane fouling mitigation. This system shows great promise for practical wastewater treatment application.