Microbial Electrochemical Technologies

Microbial electrochemical systems and technologies combine metabolism of anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) with electrochemistry to capture electrons from biodegradable organic matters in waste or wastewater.  This unique feature allows us to manipulate the recovered electrons into electric power or other value-added products (e.g., hydrogen gas, methane, industrial chemicals, nutrients, etc.). We are interested in understanding microbial and electrochemical kinetics, microbial syntrophic interactions, electron transport pathways and mechanisms in microbial electrochemical systems. Our research team is also developing microbial electrochemical cell-based biosensors for real-time monitoring organic contaminants in industrial wastewater.

Anaerobic Digestion  

Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology that can convert solid organic waste into biomethane.  Our ultimate goal is to improve its process kinetics. To develop sustainable and high-rate anaerobic digestion process, we explore different strategies, including pre-treatment of organic waste, electrochemically assisted digestion, co-digestion of complementary solid waste streams, and resources recovery from digestate.  We’re also interested in studying fundamental aspects of anaerobic digestion, such as microbial syntrophy and interspecies electron transfer.

Research Funding Sources and Industry Partners