November 26, 2016: Domestic sewage contains organic wastes, that are mainly from toilets and kitchens may prove to be a source of energy that can be harvested by using hungry bacteria, scientists say.
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According to PTI, Francis Meerburg from Ghent University in Belgium said, “The levels of organic matter in sewage are too low to be directly recovered. We investigated how we can use bacteria to capture this material.”
Meerburg further added, “Our approach is unique because we have developed a high-rate variation of the so-called contact stabilisation process.”
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Nico Boon, from Ghent University said,”We periodically starve the bacteria, in a kind of ‘fasting regimen’. Afterwards, wastewater is briefly brought into contact with the starved bacteria which are gluttonous and gobble up the organic matter without ingesting all of it.”
Boon further added, “This enables us to harvest the undigested materials for the production of energy and high-quality products. We starve the rest of the bacteria, so that they can purify fresh sewage again.”
Almost, up to 55 percent of the organic matter could be recovered from sewage by using contact stabilisation process.
The existing processes cannot recover more than 20 to 30 percent, so, this is a huge step forward.
The researchers also calculated that this amount can provide ample amounts of energy in order to completely treat the sewage without the need for external electricity.
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Siegfried Vlaeminck, the professor at Ghent University said, “This is an important step in the direction of wastewater treatment that is energy neutral, or even produces energy.”
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