Excess sludge production from wastewater treatment plants has significantly increased, and sludge disposal has become a serious social and environmental problem. In this study, we constructed a microbial electrochemical hybrid system (MEHS) for simultaneous electricity generation, acid and alkali production, desalination, alkali pretreatment, and degradation of sludge. The alkaline solution generated in the MEHS was used for in situ sludge pretreatment. Owing to the efficiency in alkali pretreatment, a higher sludge degradation efficiency was obtained by the MEHS (Total chemical oxygen demand (TCOD) removal efficiency of 57.2%) than by the SMFC (TCOD removal efficiency of 51.7%). Moreover, the MEHS (0.165C) could recover more electricity from the sludge than a traditional single-chamber microbial fuel cell (SMFC, 0.133C). Additionally, the MEHS exhibited excellent performance in desalination (> 50%) and acid production. The system developed in this study provides a new solution for sludge degradation and multifunctional utilization.

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