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Activated sludge process has been widely used in wastewater treatment plants. Excess sludge produced during the process has become a solid waste for many treatment plants to be managed. Solid-phase microbial fuel cell (SMFC) is a process which can remove the excess sludge as well as transform wasted sludge into electrical energy. In this research, 3 low-cost SMFCs were constructed and used to digest wasted activated sludge under the condition of 3 electrode spaces, i.e., 4 cm, 6 cm, 8 cm. The experiment was aimed to investigate the effect of electrode space on internal resistance and wasted sludge removal of the SMFCs. As a result, the relationship between electrode space and internal resistance was not always in direct variation. It changed along the operation period. In terms of sludge removal, the removal rates and efficiencies (6 cm<8 cm<4 cm) conformed to the electricity generation (6 cm<8 cm<4 cm) during 4-120-hr. operation period. At that period, SMFC with 4-cm electrode space displayed greatest performance in both electricity generation and wasted sludge removal. It removed 34.1% of the wasted sludge with the highest sludge removal rate (0.05-kgVS/L·day) and the lowest internal resistance (17.5-875.6 ohms). It also showed the highest electricity generation yield (83.7-µWhr/gVS) with 298.0-mW/m3 maximum electrical power density (21.84 mW/m2).
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