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Mónica López Velarde Santos
Francisco Javier Rodríguez Valadéz
Víctor Mora Solís
Catalina González Nava
Alan Jacob Cornejo Martell
Oliver Hensel


Vinasses are one of the main wastes generated from the mezcal industry in Mexico. Due to their high organic matter content and low pH, vinasses have negative environmental impacts if discharged without any treatment. An alternative treatment of vinasses is their use in microbial fuel cells (MFC) for organic matter removal and electricity production. In this paper, the performance of a MFC using vinasses is analyzed. Different organic matter concentrations in terms of chemical oxygen demand (COD) were tested and compared regarding power density, internal resistance, and voltage production. The results demonstrated that the highest COD tested resulted in a poor MFC performance. When using vinasses in MFC for 10 days, COD of 6000 mg/L generated 80.64 W/m3 and when using vinasses with a COD of 17 143 mg/L, the power density dropped to 5.13 W/m3. Further tests of COD performance in MFC were made with 10 640 and 6760 mg/L for 68 days. It was demonstrated that a COD of 10 604 mg/L only produced 0.61 V, while a COD of 6760 mg/L reached 0.81 V. Regarding the organic matter removal, the highest COD removed (92 %) was obtained when using vinasses with a COD of 10 604 mg/L. By operating the cell with 6000 mg/L, COD removal was 83 % and with 17 143 mg/L, 49 %. To achieve a better MFC performance, the organic matter content in the electrolyte should not exceed 6000 mg/L so that the MFC does not achieve a saturated state that hinders the oxidation mechanisms and thus electricity production and COD removal.


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Biografía del autor/a

Mónica López Velarde Santos, Kassel University

Ms. Lopez Velarde studied her Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico. She worked for almost 4 years as engineer for the German industry and studied her Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Germany at the Technical University Cologne, where she conducted several projects on the fields of renewable energies. For more than 2 years, she worked at the same University at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Renewable Energies as a research associate. She coached projects related to the anaerobic digestion of agricultural and municipal wastes developing different research activities. Since October 2012 Ms. Lopez Velarde has been Ph.D. student at the University of Kassel, working at the Department of Agricultural Engineering on the energetic use and treatment of organic agricultural residues through anaerobic digestion and microbial fuel cells.

Francisco Javier Rodríguez Valadéz, Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Electroquímica Parque Tecnológico Querétaro S/N, San Fandila, 76703 Pedro Escobedo, Qro.

Dr. Rodríguez Valadéz studied Biochemical Engineering at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes in Mexico and finished his studies in the year 1991. In 1994 he obtained the Master Degree as M.Sc. in Biotechnology at the research center CINVESTAV-IPN in Mexico City. He worked as professor at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes between 1997 and 1998, and at the UPIBI-IPN in 1995 and 1996. Dr. Rodríguez concluded the Ph.D. program at the Institute for Scientific Research of the University of Guanajuato in the year 2002. Since then, Dr. Rodríguez  has been working as research associate at the research center CIDETEQ (in Mexico), developing activities in the fields of biodiesel production, microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment and energy production, as well as wastewater treatment through electrochemical methods.

Víctor Mora Solís, Research Center CIDETEQ Parque Tecnológico Querétaro S/N, San Fandila, 76703 Pedro Escobedo, Qro.

Mr. Mora studied Chemical Engineering at the Technical University of San Juan del Rio in Mexico between 2009 and 2013. After completing her studies, he worked one year on the microbiological analysis of a wastewater treatment plant at the same institution. Since September 2013 Mr. Mora Solis has been studying his Master Degree at the research center CIDETEQ in Mexico. He is working with microbial fuel cells for the wastewater treatment and energy production.

Catalina González Nava, Research Center CIDETEQ Parque Tecnológico Querétaro S/N, San Fandila, 76703 Pedro Escobedo, Qro.

Ms. González Nava studied Biochemical Engineering at the Technological Institute of Celaya in Mexico and obtained the grade as Engineer in 2003. From 2005 to 2008 she was the Director of Management and Planning for the Sustainable Development of the same institution. Between 2008 and 2010 she studied the Master Degree in Biotic Resources at the Autonomous University of Queretaro and in 2016 she completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Technology at the research center CIDETEQ in Mexico, where she worked mainly with microbial fuel cells.

Alan Jacob Cornejo Martell, Research Center CIDETEQ Parque Tecnológico Querétaro S/N, San Fandila, 76703 Pedro Escobedo, Qro.

Alan Jacob Cornejo Martell is Biochemical Engineer graduated in the year 2015 from Autonomous University of Aguascalientes. During his studies he worked on the effect of humic acid in microbial fuel cells. He is currently pursuing a Master Degree at the research center CIDETEQ working on the microbiome present in microbial fuel cells.

Oliver Hensel, Kassel University Agricutlural and Biosystems Engineering Nordbahnhofstr. 1ª 37213 Witzenhausen Germany

Dr. Hensel works since more than 20 years on international research and innovation projects. Dr. Hensel studied at the Goettingen University the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and at the Hohenheim University both, the Master Degree and Ph.D. as Dr. sc. agr. Agricultural Engineering. Since 2004 Dr. Hensel was appointed a full Professorship (C4) for Agricultural Engineering at the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences at the University of Kassel. Dr. Hensel is funder member of the International Centre for Decent Work and Development by DAAD and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and current coordinator of the post-doc fellowship program “Engineers for Africa” of the VW-foundation. Up to now Dr. Hensel has more than 50 own major scientific projects worldwide and numerous business relations all around the world while working in industry.

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