Fuel cell produces electricity from wastewater and purifies it too!

With the world looking for techniques which could be used to produce clean energy, researchers at Oregon State University seem to have hit the bull’s eye with a new microbial fuel cell. The new MFC has been designed to produce renewable energy from wastewater, using an innovative process which also purifies water and makes it available for recycling.

Instead of hydrogen or ethanol, the new microbial fuel cell takes in wastewater as fuel at the anode, where specially created bacteria act as catalyst to oxidize the organic compounds in wastewater to produce electrons at the cathode. The anode and cathode are separated by a unique membrane that only allows clean water to pass through.

The new fuel cell can produce about 2KW of renewable electric power per cubic meter of bioreactor volume, which is up to 50 times more electricity than comparable MFCs already in use. The team doesn’t want to test the system at a conventional wastewater treatment facility, but wants the initial prototype to be used at a food processing plant, where a lot of wastewater is discarded.

Via: Extreme Tech

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