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Daniel C Aiken

Developing a cost effective microbial electrolysis cell (MEC).


Project description

Climate change is a global threat. A partial solution is to develop new cost-effective technology that can reduce energy expenditure. Microbial electrolysis cells (MEC) are a potential, sustainable solution to wastewater treatment. They reduce energy costs. They can produce hydrogen gas, which we can use as a sustainable fuel source. But MECs are currently expensive.

In this project, we costed and optimised the design for a cost-effective MEC. This could compete against conventional technologies.

To achieve this, the project involves:

  • a financial appraisal of the technology against conventional treatment
  • empirical observation of biofilm activity under controlled but realistic conditions
  • the creation of a CFD-biofilm model adapted from OpenFOAM architecture
  • the development of algorithms to map the numerical model to empirical observations
  • extrapolation of design parameters to find the most cost-effective solutions

The final results will provide important advice to my sponsor company. It will also guide other academics in their research activity.



Automated design and optimisation.


  • MEng Civil Engineering 1st Class Hons