Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) encompass a group of technologies derived from conventional electrochemical systems in which the electrodic reactions are directly or indirectly linked to the metabolic activity of certain types of microorganisms. Although BES have not yet made the leap to the commercial scale, these technologies hold a great potential, as they allow to valorize different liquid and gas waste streams. This chapter is devoted to exploring some of the possibilities that BES offer in the management and valorization of wastes. More specifically, it focuses on analyzing practical aspects of using BES for energy valorization of wastewaters and CO2-rich streams. Here, it is shown how BES can compete, in terms of energy usage, with conventional wastewater treatment technologies by exploiting the energy content of some of the chemicals present in the wastewater. Moreover, it explores how BES could enable using wastewater treatment plants as load regulation system for electrical grids. It also includes some insights on the capability of BES to recover valuable products such as fertilizers form wastes, a feature that allows this technology to promote energy efficiency in the fertilizers industry, and a sector that demands substantial amounts of energy in our world today. Finally, some of the most relevant scale-up experiences in the field are also covered.
Part of the book: Energy Systems and Environment