KEStro – Waste water treatment plants as stabilizers for power grids

Bild Forschungsprojekt
Period: 01.05.2014 - 30.04.2017

Abwasserverband Braunschweig, Deutschland

Covestro Deutschland AG, Leverkusen, Deutschland

CONDIAS GmbH, Itzehoe, Deutschland

DVGW Technologiezentrum Wasser, Karlsruhe, Deutschland

WaCo Wassertechnik Consult GmbH, Hamburg, Deutschland


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Projektträger: Projektträger Karlsruhe

Project Manager: Stefanie Hild
Research Group: Electrochemistry


Innovative solutions for the balance of supply and demand in power grids are needed due to the increasing amount of renewable energy.

The aim of this project is to use waste water treatment plants for the stabilization of power grids.


For this purpose a microbial fuel cell is combined with a novel process for the removal of micropollutants from waste water. The microbial fuel cell uses waste water as a renewable and available energy source. In times of excess supply of energy the electrochemical degradation of micropollutants is operated. The process for the removal of micropollutants consists of adsorption on activated carbon with subsequent desorption and electrochemical degradation on boron doped diamond (BDD)-electrodes.

The combination of the two techniques helps to stabilize power grids.

Lab-scale reactors for the microbial fuel cell and the adsorption-/desorption process were designed and tested. The microbial fuel cell consist of a round body with a biofilm grown on a carbon fleece as anode and a gas diffusion electrode as cathode.

The adsorption-/desorption cell consists of two identical chambers that are separated by a membrane. A thin layer of granular activated carbon is pressed against a carbon plate to achieve good electric contact. Adsorption and desorption can be carried out alternately.

Based on laboratory results pilot plants were built that are currently operated on the waste water treatment plant Steinhof in Braunschweig, Germany.

For further information follow these links (in German):
NaWaM-ERWAS  and

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