Value added products from wastewater using bioelectrochemical systems: Current trends and perspectives

Tabbi Wilberforce, Enas Taha Sayed*, Mohammad Ali Abdelkareem, Khaled Elsaid, A. G. Olabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The application of bioelectrochemical systems mostly aims to be used for the generation of electricity or chemicals. The quest to generate energy that is both sustainable and environmentally friendly over the last few years has accelerated the growth in research activities in bioelectrochemical cells, namely: microbial fuel cells (MFCs), microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), microbial desalination cells (MDCs), and microbial electrolysis desalination cells (MEDCs). Microbial fuel cells and microbial electrolysis cells are considered the most developed technologies among these various types of bioelectrochemical systems. This investigation, intends to highlight the basic operational characteristics of MFCs and MECs using wastewater as fuel. The prospects associated with this novel technology, along with challenges related to their operation, have all been highlighted in this investigation. The application of bioelectrochemical systems, as well as possible integration with other technologies, have all been critically discussed. Moreover, the current work identified key factors impeding the commercialization of these technologies, including lower efficiencies, mass transfer limitations, porosity, and protonic conductivity. Other factors include the mechanical and chemical stability of materials, along with their biocompatibility. In summary, the application of bioelectrochemical systems futuristically will revolve around energy generation, mitigation of toxic gas emissions, wastewater treatment, bioanalysis, and environmental remediation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101737
JournalJournal of Water Process Engineering
Early online date24 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Challenges
  • Hybrid with other renewable energies
  • Microbial electrolysis cell
  • Microbial fuel cells
  • Practical limitation
  • Risk assessment


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