A team of researchers working at the University of Colorado Boulder recently came up with an innovative bio-manufacturing procedure that involves usage of brewery wastewater for creation of carbon-based compound that is used in energy storage cells. The team of engineers mainly makes use of a biological organism that breeds in the wastewater released from breweries. It is one of its kind combination of batteries and breweries that can lead to a win-win opportunity by bringing down the costs of expensive wastewater treatments for beer producers. Also, it is an economical method of renewable energy creation through a very natural method.
A graduate student from CU Boulder’s Environmental, Civil, and Architectural Engineering department, Tyler Huggins, says, “Breweries use about seven barrels of water for every barrel of beer produced. And they can’t just dump it into the sewer because it requires extra filtration,” There are very few sectors of energy industry that are currently into the business of converting biological stuff into carbon based batteries. However, the naturally occurring biomass is already in a short supply, so it will be plausible for people to look for other options.
The team we are talking about here, nevertheless, makes use of unmatched efficiency of biological systems to generate sophisticated structures as well as unmatched chemistries through cultivation of rapidly succeeding fungus. The sugar-rich wastewater that is produced by fastly growing Colorado based industry breweries is known as Neurospora Crassa. Huggins says, “The wastewater is ideal for our fungus to flourish in, so we are happy to take it.”
When the team decided to cultivate this fungus in wastewater, they were able to define and control the involvement of fungus in the process right from the first step. Thus, they ended up creating one of the most efficient and natural lithium-ion based battery electrodes that are produced during the cleaning process of wastewater. Ren, a team member who plans to keep experimenting with features and characteristics of fungus in wastewater, says, “This research speaks to the spirit of entrepreneurship at CU Boulder. it’s great to see students succeeding and creating what has the potential to be a transformative technology. Energy storage represents a big opportunity for the state of Colorado and beyond.”
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