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Urine: Fuel of the Future?

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The Royal Society of Chemistry reports that US researchers have developed an efficient way of producing hydrogen from urine – a feat that could not only fuel the cars of the future, but could also help clean up municipal wastewater.

Using hydrogen to power cars has become an increasingly attractive transportation fuel, as the only emission produced is water – but a major stumbling block is the lack of a cheap, renewable source of the fuel. Gerardine Botte of Ohio University may now have found the answer, using an electrolytic approach to produce hydrogen from urine – the most abundant waste on Earth – at a fraction of the cost of producing hydrogen from water.

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May 3, 2012 Posted by | Alternative Energy, Clean Tech, Innovation, Technology | , , , , , | Comments Off on Urine: Fuel of the Future?

Bacteria Clean Sewage and Create Electricity

bacteria.94120838_stdBacteria gets a bad rep. People avoid it like the plague. In fact, people hate bacteria so much, that antibacterial products like hand sanitizer have become a multi-billion dollar industry. But what if I told you not all bacteria was bad; in fact, what if I said that bacteria could be a key source of renewable energy?

Ok, maybe I can understand why you’d hold a grudge if you suffer from gum disease, strep throat, cholera or any other bacterial illness, but scientists from Penn State University are doing everything they can to bring the single-celled organism back into the public’s good graces.

Sewage is loaded with energy-rich sugars that researchers have struggled for years to convert into useful power. To do so, investigators have experimented with nature’s experts on breaking down waste — bacteria.

“It’s kind of like the movie ‘The Matrix,'” said environmental engineer Bruce Logan at Penn State University. “Instead of wiring people up to generate electricity, we are using bacteria to directly generate electricity.”

All the energy that bacteria could generate from wastewater could help power the considerable needs of wastewater treatment. For instances, in the United States, roughly 33 billion gallons of wastewater are treated daily for an annual cost of more than $25 billion, and some 1.5 percent of the electricity produced every year goes into wastewater treatment alone.

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September 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment