This thing could clean wastewater and produce hydrogen at the same time. Using one-tenth the electricity that traditional electrolysis does.
Using a new electrically-assisted microbial fuel cell (MFC) that does not require oxygen, Penn State environmental engineers and a scientist at Ion Power Inc. have developed the first process that enables bacteria to coax four times as much hydrogen directly out of biomass than can be generated typically by fermentation alone.
Dr. Bruce Logan, the Kappe professor of environmental engineering and an inventor of the MFC, says, “This MFC process is not limited to using only carbohydrate-based biomass for hydrogen production like conventional fermentation processes. We can theoretically use our MFC to obtain high yields of hydrogen from any biodegradable, dissolved, organic matter — human, agricultural or industrial wastewater, for example — and simultaneously clean the wastewater.
Get rid of some garbage. Get hydrogen. Get clean water.
What’s not to like?