Cathode-enhanced Wastewater Treatment in Bioelectrochemical Systems

Cathode-enhanced Wastewater Treatment in Bioelectrochemical Systems

Cathode-enhanced wastewater treatment in bioelectrochemical systems

Akshay Jain and Zhen He 


Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) have been intensively studied as a new technology for wastewater treatment. However, the treatment efficiency of BES anodes is limited and the anode effluent usually cannot be directly discharged or reused. To enhance the treatment, BES cathodes may be used for the additional treatment of selected contaminants. This has been investigated in a number of approaches, which can be grouped into cathode-stimulated treatment and cathode-supported treatment. The former involves electron transfer directly to reduce contaminants like nitrate or dye compounds, while the latter can accomplish contaminant removal by aerobic oxidation, algal growth, production of strong oxidants for advanced oxidation, and/or membrane treatment. This paper aims to provide a concise view and discussion on the cathode-promoted wastewater treatment in BES, analyze challenges pertaining to the cathode treatment, and offer suggestions on the future development of BES for maximized treatment performance.

Subjects:  chemical engineering, pollution remediation

npj Clean Water, December 2018,  DOI:

Source: Nature Research Journal