Sustainable waste-to-energy technologies: Bioelectrochemical systems

Rami M.M. Ziara, Bruce I. Dvorak, Jeyamkondan Subbiah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


The food industry produces a large amount of waste and wastewater, of which most of the constituents are carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and organic fibers. Therefore food wastes are highly biodegradable and energy rich. Bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) are systems that use microorganisms to biochemically catalyze complex substrates into useful energy products, in which the catalytic reactions take place on electrodes. Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a type of bioelectrochemical systems that oxidize substrates and generate electric current. Microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) are another type of bioelectrochemical systems that use an external power source to catalyze the substrate into by-products such as hydrogen gas, methane gas, or hydrogen peroxide. BESs are advantageous due to their ability to achieve a degree of substrate remediation while generating energy. This chapter presents an extensive literature review on the use of MFCs and MECs to remediate and recover energy from food industry waste. These bioelectrochemical systems are still in their infancy state and further research is needed to better understand the systems and optimize their performance. Major challenges and limitations for the use of BESs are summarized and future research needs are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSustainable Food Waste-to-Energy Systems
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780128111574
ISBN (Print)9780128111581
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Bioelectrochemical systems
  • Food waste
  • Microbial electrolysis cells
  • Microbial fuel cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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