Bioelectrochemical treatment and recovery of copper from distillery waste effluents using power and voltage control strategies

Richard Dinsdale, Amandeep Kaur, Hitesh Boghani, Alan Guwy, Giuliano Premier, Iain Michie, Edward M Milner, Richard Kimber, Ronald Daalmans, Ian Head, Jonathan Lloyd, Eileen Yu, Jhuma Sadhukhan

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Copper recovery from distillery effluent was studied in a scalable bioelectrochemical system with approx. 6.8L total volume. Two control strategies based on the control of power with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and the application of 0.5V using an external power supply were used to investigate the resultant modified electroplating characteristics. The reactor system was constructed from two electrically separated, but hydraulically connected cells, to which the MPPT and 0.5V control strategies were applied. Three experiments were carried out using a relatively high copper concentration i.e. 1000 mg/L followed by a lower concentration i.e. 50mg/L, with operational run times defined to meet the treatment requirements for distillery effluents considered. Real distillery waste was introduced into the cathode to reduce ionic copper concentrations. This waste was then recirculated to the anode as a feed stock after the copper depletion step, in order to test the bioenergy self-sustainability of the system. Approx. 60-95% copper was recovered in the form of deposits depending on starting concentration. However, the recovery was low when the anode was supplied with copper depleted distillery waste. Through process control (MPPT or 0.5V applied voltage) the amount and form of the copper recovered could be manipulated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Early online date27 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019


  • bioelectrochemical system
  • Copper recovery
  • Distillery waste
  • MPPT
  • applied voltages
  • Applied 0.5V


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