Micro-organisms for energy conversions

wastewater, source for renewable energy

wastewater, source for renewable energy

Wastewater contains energy! From aerobic to anaerobic wastewater treatment.

Annemieke ter Heijne found a next generation wastewater treatment to recover the energy using microorganisms to convert the organics into electricity and than store it in a battery!

Ter Heijne, an assistant professor at Wageningen University and recent Wetsus alumna, is working on an innovative method to recover this energy that uses microorganisms to convert the organic matter into electricity and then store this electricity in a microbial battery.


“I think the interaction between microorganisms and electrodes is very promising because of the many areas of application that are possible,” ter Heijne said. “At the same time, it offers new ways for more fundamental studies because one can control the energy that is available to the microbes in a very precise way.

I find it very fascinating that these microorganisms occur everywhere and that they are able to generate electricity in a very efficient way”.

Recovering energy from wastewater using microbial fuel cells

Ter Heijne has been investigating methods of recovering energy from wastewater using microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and bio-electro chemical systems (BESs) for several years.

Her research group of seven PhD students has recently obtained a proof-of-principle of a novel concept: the bio-charging and discharging of small, porous grains of carbon called “capacitive granules” in an electrochemical cell.

The capacitive granules form the core of the new microbial battery

Electrochemically active microorganisms that are present in many environments, including the wastewater itself, can charge the capacitive granules by extracting electrons from the organic compounds in wastewater, and then store the electrons using the high surface area of the pores of the granules. In order to maintain electro neutrality, protons and other cations in the wastewater are attracted to the granules and accumulate both in the pores and around the outer surface of the granules.

Read the full article here

Watch her presentation

New technology to recover energy from waterwater and store it in a battery


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