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Jordan Day

Modelling microbial electrolysis cells for wastewater treatment.

  • Modelling microbial electrolysis cells for wastewater treatment
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Project title

Optimisation of microbial electrolysis cells through mathematical modelling


Project description

Current wastewater treatment methods need vast amounts of energy to operate. Alternate approaches are essential if we are to achieve a low carbon future for the wastewater industry.

One potential development is microbial electrolysis cells (MECs). But development and testing of these systems at treatment scales carries large financial costs.

This project is developing a mathematical model. It will effectively model large scale wastewater treatment plants using MECs.

Development of the model will allow us to answers to questions such as:

  • how effective are MECs when implemented in large scale treatment plants?
  • what are the most effective designs to optimise efficiency?

Our model will combine computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with a bioelectrochemical system. It will focus on biological growth and consumption along with interactions with an electrode.

We will then calibrated against experiments at both lab and pilot scales. This will provide a physically realistic model which can be upscaled to a full treatment plant.


  • Master of Mathematics (MMath), Newcastle University