Video: EcoVolt generates energy from wastewater (w/ Video)

Nov 26, 2013

Spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2006, Cambrian Innovation is commercializing a portfolio of environmental solutions based on newly discovered electrically active microbes. By harnessing the power of bio-electricity and advances in electrochemistry, Cambrian Innovation's products help industrial, agricultural and government customers save money while recovering clean water and clean energy from wastewater streams.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), engineers and co-founders Matt Silver and Justin Buck are bringing their research from the lab to the market. One system, called EcoVolt, generates from the wastewater by leveraging what is called "electromethanogenesis." It's a newly discovered process for producing methane.

"NSF funding of Cambrian Innovation's research demonstrates our strong interest in supporting small business innovation that leads to novel and greener technological solutions to societal challenges," says NSF program director Prakash Balan.

The EcoVolt system sends wastewater through a bio-electrochemical reactor. As water filters through it, special bacteria in the reactor eat the organic waste in the water and release electrons as a byproduct. Those electrons travel through a circuit to generate methane, or CH4.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

A wireless signal allows the process to be monitored remotely. This very high quality methane is then piped out to an engine, where it's burned with a small amount of natural gas. It then generates heat and energy. In addition, sensor systems built by Cambrian Innovation can also monitor pollutants, such as fertilizer run-off.

Explore further: Microbiologists reveal unexpected properties of methane-producing microbe

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bacteria -- energy producers of the future? (w/ video)

Aug 22, 2011

All of us use water and in the process, a lot of it goes to waste. Whether it goes down drains, sewers or toilets, much of it ends up at a wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes rigorous cleaning before it flows back ...

Microbes strip power from poo

Sep 17, 2013

EPSRC-funded scientists have developed a process using microbes which removes the need to use electricity to process sewage at treatment plants. The microbes can also be used to produce large quantities of ...

Water purification unit generates its own energy

Jul 25, 2011

A new biological water purification facility developed by Siemens generates enough methane gas to power its own operations. It also produces much less sludge than conventional systems. The pilot facility for ...

Recommended for you

European grid prepares for massive integration of renewables

9 hours ago

Today, the ancient city of Rome welcomed an important new initiative for the large-scale integration of grids and of renewables sources into Europe's energy mix, with nearly 40 leading organisations from research, industry, ...

Preparing for a zero-emission urban bus system

Oct 30, 2014

In order to create a competitive and sustainable transport system, the EU must look to alternative fuels to replace or complement petrol and diesel. Not only will this reduce transport emissions but it will ...

Exploring the value of 'Energy Star' homes

Oct 30, 2014

The numbers in neat columns tell—column by column, page by page—a story spread out across Carmen Carrión-Flores' desk at Binghamton University. It's a great story, she says; she just doesn't know how ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.