Accelerate the Circular Economy: Good Riddance to the Wastewater Dinosaur
Energy-reduction is the holy grail of wastewater treatment. The circular economy, which aims to gradually separate economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and design the system to reduce and ultimately eliminate waste, has gained traction in resource recovery with biogas generation and fertilizers. Yet one monolithic, almost universal step in the treatment process continues to gorge itself on energy: aeration.
Aeration, the energy-intensive process of blowing air into wastewater, is essential to keep the naturally occurring microbes that break down organic waste alive. It's effective, but the process is energy intensive, even with newer, more efficient systems, and consumes 60 percent of the energy needed for wastewater treatment. Mechanical aeration uses about 3 percent of U.S. electricity (120,000 GWh) every year -- creating more than 89,000 metric tons annually of CO2.
Of course, there is another way...
VIVA MFC Turns Off Aeration
MICROrganic has a better solution: VIVA MFC (MFC = Microbial Fuel Cell) eliminates aeration in the treatment train and in the process generates DC power, which is more sustainable and flexible than biogas. We use naturally occurring microbes (just like aeration), but culture them on a bio film that is connected to a circuit. Instead of relying on aeration, the microbes “breathe” through the circuit. VIVA MFC is the next evolution of the circular economy in wastewater.
Designing Out Waste and Pollution: A medium-size city (50M Gal/Day) uses 5 to 7 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity for aeration, generating 4,500 metric tons of CO2 every year. VIVA MFC eliminates those greenhouse gases (GHG).
Renewable Power: As microbes treat the waste, they generate DC power. That 50 million-gallon-a-day plant could generate 500 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean DC power, further decreasing energy use and GHG emissions.
Flexible Form Factor: About 45,000 municipal and industrial wastewater plants can be found in the U.S. Unlike most new water technologies that require their own “package plant”-- pre-manufactured treatment facilities used to treat wastewater in small communities or on individual properties -- VIVA MFC retrofits. Our approach is less expensive, more resource-efficient and flexible.
MICROrganics' New Year’s Resolution: Transform Microbreweries! Cheers!
Building on our successful 8-month pilot at Brown’s Brewing in upstate New York, our New Year’s Resolution is to transform the world of breweries, which face increased pressures to treat waste onsite. VIVA MFC has a solution for that, our exciting technology that can break down all kinds of organic waste streams while generating clean DC Power.
Did you enjoy this article? If so, sign-up for more water innovation updates via our bi-monthly newsletter Ripples.