Tech Thursdays with ATS – Anaerobic Bioreactors Produce Fuel and Electricity
Wastewater can practically be considered a limitless resource. As long as there is an infrastructure for running water or a drainage system, wastewater will be a continual byproduct. Recently, many researchers have been looking into how that wastewater can be put to better use. One such purpose can be found when examining how wastewater is treated. There are multiple filtration processes and stages used to treat wastewater, including a basic mechanical treatment, a secondary biological treatment and sometimes a tertiary treatment. The purpose of the secondary treatment is to separate and treat any biological elements of waste. One way to handle this second level of treatment is with anaerobic bioreactors. Anaerobic bioreactors are able to separate the solid waste from the gas creating two different byproducts. These byproducts include gas which can be used as an alternate source of energy.
If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. On most Thursdays, the ATS blog strives to bring you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!
Some regions with less access to fresh water and abundant fuel are looking into how anaerobic reactors can treat their wastewater and provide them alternate fuel source. The biogas created by the anaerobic reactor, from organic material in the wastewater, can be used as cooking gas, or as fuel for electricity or to power vehicles. The bioreactor also produces thermal energy and could be potentially used as a source of heat if properly channeled. Researchers and companies are looking into how these systems can be implemented into communities for increased usage and long term benefits.
While anaerobic bioreactors are not an entirely new technology, their use is becoming more widespread. With the increased use of the technology, may come the increased use of this byproduct, alternate, natural gas that can be used for fuel and electricity.