Recycling water and producing energy: Cambrian Innovation’s challenge

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The Boston company is experimenting a system to treat household waste waters.

Treating sewage at a household level in an economically feasible and energy efficient way. Science Fiction? Not for Cambrian Innovation, a Boston-based company that has begun field tests at a plant called BioVolt in Maryland.

The company is trying to prove that over 2,000 litres of sewage can be turned into clean water each day for at least 15 people. How? Through a microbial fuel cell structure, which purifies the water while generating enough electricity to power itself.

Conventional treatment plants consume huge amounts of energy, about 3% of total demand in the USA. If Cambrian Innovation’s experiment is successful, it could plot a path to local waste water recycling that is as easy to install as putting a solar panels on roofs. The potential of microbial fuel cells has been recognised as a possible alternative to existing treatment plants that use bacteria to metabolise organic materials, but ultimately requires further chemical and energy treatment before ending up in landfill.

The new technique developed by the BioVolt plants combines strains of microbes to process the sludge in a way that turns the whole material into a kind of battery producing self-powering electricity. The goal of Cambrian Innovation is to apply the principle on a wider scale, up to a point where it can process more than 20,000 litres per day. The hope is that microbial fuel cells can be the solution for renewable water, just like solar and wind sources do for renewable energy.

Source: Circulate News

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