Volumen: 176, Numero: 1, Páginas: 378-388pp.
An air exposed single-chamber microbial fuel cell (SCMFC) using microalgal biocathodes was designed. The reactors were tested for the simultaneous biodegradation of real dye textile wastewater (RTW) and the generation of bioelectricity. The results of digital image processing revealed a maximum coverage area on the biocathodes by microalgal cells of 42%. The atmospheric and diffused CO2 could enable good algal growth and its immobilized operation on the cathode electrode. The biocathode-SCMFCs outperformed an open circuit voltage (OCV), which was 18%?43% higher than the control. Furthermore, the maximum volumetric power density achieved was 123.2 ± 27.5 mW m?3. The system was suitable for the treatment of RTW and the removal/decrease of COD, colour and heavy metals. High removal efficiencies were observed in the SCMFCs for Zn (98%) and COD (92?98%), but the removal efficiencies were considerably lower for Cr (54?80%). We observed that this single chamber MFC simplifies a double chamber system. The bioelectrochemical performance was relatively low, but the treatment capacity of the system seems encouraging in contrast to previous studies. A proof-of-concept experiment demonstrated that the microalgal biocathode could operate in air exposed conditions, seems to be a promising alternative to a Pt cathode and is an efficient and cost-effective approach to improve the performance of single chamber MFCs.