Israel-based Applied CleanTech and Marlborough, Mass.-based Qteros developed a method for converting sludge into ethanol. The researchers have created a joint development project that combines sewage treatment technology and a microbial process for converting biomass into ethanol.
According to the researchers this new method can reduce the amount of sludge processed by traditional treatment facilities and turn municipal solid waste into a green fuel.
Many researchers have been studying ways to extract usable energy from sewage sludge but there are not any commercial operations that make liquid fuel. CleanTech’s core technology, which is already used in treatment plants, extracts the biosolids from raw sewage, which is a way to reduce the overall amount of wastewater that needs to be treated.
In partnership with Qteros, the biosolids are used as a feedstock to produce ethanol. Qteros, founded two years ago, is developing an ethanol-making process in which a naturally occurring microorganism digests the cellulose in biomass and turns it into ethanol. It’s an alternative to the traditional multistep, enzyme-based method.