Microbial Fuel Cell which cleans brackish water and produces electricty

August 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm (ecology) (, , , , , )

2-wastewaterpr

Desalinization technology has long been trapped between two competing nightmare scenarios. Without desalination, fresh water resources run out and large swaths of the earth suffer crippling water shortages. But if we desalinate on a large scale, we keep burning fossil fuels, the earth warms, the ice caps melt, and sea levels rise to wreak havoc on coastal regions.

Desalinization could theoretically solve the impending water crisis if it weren’t such an energy-intensive process; desal requires large amounts of electricity, which is primarily generated by burning fossil fuels. Call it a catch-22. But researchers at Penn State think they’ve solved the problem by creating a process that cleans wastewater while generating electricity, simultaneously removing 90 percent of salt from seawater.

(via: POPSCI

[Another potential application of this type of fuel cell is the creation of living solar panels using cyanobacteria (which can photosynthesize with limited sunlight and using the grey water from ones home to cycle through the cell as part of a purification process. ]

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