Yesterday we looked at technology being developed to generate electricity from sewage
using bacteria. Today we’re looking at an innovative design that generates electricity from the method used to carry this sewage away. Invented by Tom Broadbent, an industrial design student at Leicester’s De Montfort University (DMU), the HighDro Power harnesses the energy from falling waste in the soil pipes of high-rise buildings and converts it to electricity.
While much of the focus on renewable electricity production focuses on green alternatives, a team of engineers at Oregon State University is looking at ways to improve electricity production from a “brown” source – namely sewage. The engineers found that using new coatings on the anodes of microbial electrochemical cells they were able to increase the electricity production from sewage about 20 times.
It is estimated there are approximately five nonillion (that’s 5x10 to the power of 30) bacteria on Earth, and although they generally get a bad rap, there are actually many beneficial bacteria that are vital to life on our planet. As we’ve seen previously, scientists are now looking to harness bacteria to produce electricity through microbial fuel cells
. These microbial fuel cells (MFCs) convert chemical energy to electrical energy to offer a clean, efficient and reliable alternative to batteries and other environmentally harmful fuels. Recognizing their potential the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has developed an MFC that could revolutionize naval energy use by converting decomposed marine organisms into electricity.
If you’ve ever considered the humble urinal, you might have noticed that it uses much less water than a toilet. It only makes sense - since they don’t receive any feces, urinals don’t need all the water necessary to carry such solid waste through to the sewer line. When you use a toilet and just urinate, however, you’re still flushing away just as much water as if you, uh, went “Number 2.” If you were using a NoMix toilet, however, the Number 1 and Number 2 would go separate places, with the flushes being needed for solid waste only. It’s a good enough idea that in a recent pilot project, users in seven European countries gave the device a thumbs - or should that be bottoms? - up.
Concrete seems pretty inoffensive. It just looks like mud, and appears to do nothing except sit there and harden. The fact is, though, concrete is the world's third-largest source of man-made carbon dioxide. Its production process accounts for at least 5% of the CO2 our species pumps into the atmosphere annually. Apparently, however, it doesn't have to be that way. Two companies are now using different technologies that not only make concrete carbon-neutral, they actually make it carbon-negative
We talk a lot about the wonders of nanotechnology here at Gizmag. After all it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surround the technology when it promises to revolutionize practically every area of human endeavor. Among its long list of anticipated benefits are new medical treatments
; stronger, lighter materials
; improved energy production
; and more effective pollution monitoring
and prevention, just to name a few. But nanotechnology is not just something set to come about in some far off future – it is happening now. In fact, the odds are there is a product either containing, or made using nanoparticles sitting in your house right now. But the big question is, are they safe?
The rainbow effect caused by varying thicknesses of oil film on water’s surface might be pretty to look at but is indicative of polluted water. This “oil sheen” proves especially difficult to remove, even when the water is aerated with ozone or filtered through sand. But now a University of Utah engineer has developed an inexpensive new method to remove oil sheen by repeatedly pressurizing and depressurizing ozone gas, creating microscopic bubbles that attack the oil so it can be removed by sand filters.
Desalination plants generally employ one of two methods to produce clean water – reverse osmosis
or electrodialysis. Unfortunately, both processes require large amounts of energy, but an international team of researchers has proven a process that cleans wastewater can also remove 90 percent of salt from brackish water or seawater while generating electricity.
In disasters such as hurricane Katrina, dealing with wastewater can be one of the greatest difficulties facing military and relief operations. Nicknamed “DAAB” (Deployable Aqueous Aerobic Bioreactor), this new self-sustaining, portable, and “smart” wastewater treatment system offers a solution to this critical problem.
April 29, 2005 The hydrogen economy is looming, and it seems a weekly occurance to see additional announcements of technology adding to the momentum. This week from Penn State University comes the news of an electrically-assisted microbial fuel cell (MFC) that does not require oxygen and uses bacteria to coax four times as much hydrogen directly out of biomass than can be generated typically by fermentation alone.