Ohio University: Cleaning Our
Environment with ‘Pee Power’
GERARDINE G. BOTTE, Ph.D., is a Russ Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and serves as the Director of the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research (CEER) at Ohio University. She is the founder and CTO of E3 Clean Technologies Inc. She holds 10 U.S. and 3 foreign issued patents, has published 46 articles, 5 book chapters and serves as editor for the Journal of Applied Electrochemistry. Botte’s work consists of fundamental and applied research in electrochemical engineering, including power sources and fuel cells, hydrogen generators, numerical methods, mathematical modeling, material science, and electro-catalysis. Her research portfolio includes the design and development of advanced battery systems and how coal and ammonia can be used as hydrogen sources to power fuel cells. Botte is a member of prestigious organizations such as the ECS and the ISE. She is also a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. At Ohio University, Botte invented the “GreenBox™”, a small footprint electrical appliance that is designed to remove ammonia from commercial, municipal, and agriculture wastewater at a lower energy consumption, capital, and operational cost than any other process available. This technology, which produces hydrogen energy as a valuable by-product, has been described as “pee power.” The device works through a patented low-energy electrolysis process that converts ammonia and urea in wastewater to hydrogen, nitrogen and/or carbon dioxide, and pure water. The “GreenBox” can be reconfigured to produce ammonia on demand from urea. This device is known as the “SCR GreenBox™,” which has applications for NOx scrubbing 24
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about OHIO UNIVERSITY The oldest institution of higher learning in the state, Ohio University strives to be the best student-centered, transformative learning community in America, where more than 33,000 students realize their promise. OHIO is committed to fostering, embracing, and celebrating diversity in all its forms. The Athens campus offers students a residential learning experience in one of the nation’s most picturesque academic settings. Five regional campuses serve additional students throughout central and southeastern Ohio, and online programs further advance the university’s commitment to providing educational access and opportunity.
from power plants and diesel vehicles. Both devices, the GreenBox and the SCR Greenbox, will serve the needs of multibillion markets while providing clean water, clean air, and clean energy. In order to commercialize the product, Botte founded E3 Clean Technologies Inc., with the help of Ohio University’s small high-tech business incubator, the Innovation Center. E3’s technology could help a variety of industries
that must deal with the disposal of ammonia, ranging from military and agriculture to wastewater treatment operations to commercial construction companies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers ammonia to be a serious environmental toxin that greatly impacts air quality, surface water, and ground water. This is only the beginning of a company that plans to develop the GreenBox into a larger-scale, commercial prototype that could revolutionize clean energy while generating jobs for people from a variety of fields and education levels—from science and engineering to sales, marketing and manufacturing.