New technology, developed by engineers at the small start-up Cambrian Innovation, generates heat and energy from waste water. The system called EcoVolt includes a bio-electrochemical reactor filled with special bacteria, which produces methane while eating organic waste.
After successful completion of all research and tests, the developers are convinced their invention will be a hit on the market.
Cambrian Innovation, an MIT spin-off, was founded in 2006 by the two engineers Matt Silver and Justin Buck . Since then, they have been developing various green systems with the aim to provide solutions to some of the most pressing societal problems including clean energy generation, energy efficiency and environmental pollution. One such system is EcoVolt, which ticks all the boxes. It utilizes waste water, cleans it from organic waste, and produces energy and heat via a process, which is eco-friendly and does not generate any pollution.
The process, which is in the core of the system, is called “electromethanogenesis”. Basically, it is a newly discovered way to generate methane (CH4) using electrically active bacteria placed inside a reactor. The bacteria feed on organic pollutants in waste water, and release electrons, which travel through a circuit and produce very high quality CH4. The gas is then transferred to an engine, where it gets burned and generates energy and heat. The makers believe that the system can be particularly useful to industrial beverage producers, who can utilize their waste water streams and turn them into a source of revenue.
The research is fully supported by the Small Business Innovation Research Program of the National Science Foundation. As stated by the program director, Prakash Balan, this type of business innovations is exactly what the NSF is interested in, and they will gladly support any other developments, which can lead to finding better and greener technology.