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Harnessing Microbes to Clean Water and Create Energy By Ellen Ferrante, National Science Foundation

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation. In our world where many people lack access to potable water and sanitation, Bruce Logan and his team are developing energy sustainable technologies to clean water and make electrical energy for water treatment. Their research includes exploring how to develop microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that can tackle both challenges. The researchers have proven that almost any biodegradable material can be used to produce power, for instance, they can produce electricity from domestic wastewater, as well as wastewater generated by animals, farms, food processing and industry. Currently, the lab is working to utilize this technology on larger scales. In past research, Logan and his team developed a modified MFC system that produces hydrogen gas while cleaning wastewater, attaining record high hydrogen yields. This technology can use even the most common microorganisms to produce hydrogen and other fuels such as methane. See a video of Logan in his lab from the new series Green Revolution, an animation of his earlier work., ,

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