Sludge Not So Dirty After All: Clean Energy from Wastewater On the Rise


Producing biofuel from wastewater seems like a natural equation: take a resource that is produced incessantly, and is an environmental pollutant, and turn it into energy—and, in turn, reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Doing this on a large scale is much easier said than done, so it isn't necessarily a widespread practice—but it might be getting there. Here's a look at a few projects or companies that are transforming human waste into usable energy.

1. Biodiesel from sewage sludge is not only possible, but can cost just cents more than regular, petroleum-based diesel.

2. A town in England just started using sewage to heat about 200 homes, and similar projects will only expand throughout the country over the next year.

3. Sewage grease: a company called BlackGold Biofuels makes FOG-to-Fuel, a system that converts fats, oils, and greases (FOG), which tend to clog sewers, into biodiesel. The company says that the system "contributes to reductions in sewer overflows, utility cost-savings, reduced carbon footprint, and increased energy security and independence."

4. Another technology currently in development would transform the scum in wastewater into electricity: microbial fuel cells (MFCs), "which utilize electrothermically-active bacteria grown on an electrode, are able to directly produce electricity from biomass in residential and industrial wastewater streams," Renewable Energy World reports.

These are just a few of the ideas trying to take advantage of what is, fortunately or unfortunately, an endless resource.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by