Microbial Desalination Cells: Progress and Impacts

F.A. Alseroury


Microbial desalination cells (MDCs) have attained substantial importance in the recent years. The high energy consumption and environmental impacts of present desalination process has put mounts pressure to search for alternative desalination techniques. In search for sustainable and low cost desalination alternatives, microbial desalination at present has been known as self-sustaining (in terms of energy) and low cost process. Additionally, MDCs provide a dual benefit of waste treatment in line with power production. Numerous studies have reported advancements in MDCs that could potentially increase the efficiency of process. This present review mainly highlighted the various configurations of MDCs that could give possible large scale deployment of this technique. Additionally, the underlying limitations that affect the cell performance have also been critically discussed. The possible environmental impacts such as the release of unidentified microbes, the accidental leakage of high COD water, and fouling of membranes etc. have been identified as important factors to achieve environmental sustainability through the desalination process. Further, the authors identified a dire need to conduct LCA of different cells to identify the possible impacts of the preparatory phase of MDCs. Most of the research on MDCs indicated that it is virtually a self-sustaining process in terms of energy supply, thus the actual amount of output energy was also identified as a missing fact in most of the research studies. This review specifically covered the significance of research carried out on the current progress towards the commercialization of MDCs with possible environmental impacts.

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