The new patent-pending bioreactor technology cleans wastewater and produces additional hydrogen, closing the energy loop, and is even expected to become carbon negative over time.
When the plants die, after a process of a million years, they turn into oil. It’s the stuff we’ve been pumping out of the ground for over a hundred years and the biggest contributor to today’s climate change.
A bioreactor speeds up this process.
At one end, plant material is introduced and at the other, biofuel is obtained to power planes and ships. Biofuels are considered carbon neutral by many scientists, but not all.
Either way, creating biofuels from plant matter and wastewater is energy-intensive, and closing the “clean energy loop” has been difficult. Additionally, the very process of creating biofuels also produces carbon dioxide.
A new patent-pending invention of PNNL technology, which operates out of Washington, should remedy that.
The laboratory succeeded in using carbon residues to generate hydrogen. And the best part is that this hydrogen is used to fuel the processes of the bioreactor.
So basically the bioreactor does three things, and two of them are new to bioreactor technology.
That’s what bioreactors do. But it also cleans waste water, resulting in clean water that can be used in agriculture, for example.
And it produces hydrogen to power its processes. Over time, the researchers think they can make the whole process carbon negative.
Another key aspect of the new invention is that it uses up to 1,000 times less rare earth metals than similar processes, making it a win-win.