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Could Sewage Be Our Fuel of the Future?

from Smithsonian

As we ponder how we’re going to supply the world’s increasing energy needs over the course of the 21st century, the discussion usually swings between fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, and emerging alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. Increasingly, though, scientists and engineers are looking at the possibility of tapping into an unlikely fuel source to generate electricity: the wastewater that we routinely flush down the drain.

Earlier this week, Oregon State University engineers announced a new advance in microbial fuel cells that generate electricity from wastewater. As described in an article in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, they have developed a technology that uses bacteria to harvest energy from the biodegradable components of sewage at a rate that is 10 to 50 times more efficient than previous methods.

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