Today's waste, tomorrow's fuel
Bacteria convert chocolate waste into hydrogen
Dr Muhammad Baig, Dr Alex Bevan, Dr David Book, Dr Neil Creamer, Mr Kevin Deplanche, Professor Rex Harris, Professor Kevin Kendall, Dr Gary Leeke, Professor Lynne Macaskie, Dr Iryna Mikheenko, Ms Angela Murray, Dr David Penfold, Dr Neil Rowson, Ms Jean Sampson and Dr Allan Walton, University of Birmingham
Dr Matt Jackson and Dr Hazel Prichard, Cardiff University, Wales
John Turner, Valeswood ETD Ltd
Sustainable energy from urban and industrial wastes
A research collaboration from the Universities of Birmingham, Cardiff University and C-Tech Innovation Ltd is using precious metals from vehicle exhausts and road dusts, and food wastes, and using ‘friendly’ bacteria to create greener energy.
“We are taking several potential sources of energy – from food and urban wastes, and converting them into new energy-making fuel cell materials,” explains Lynne Macaskie from the University of Birmingham. “Creating hydrogen based fuel cells can create tomorrow’s green electricity and transport fuels whilst simultaneously reducing waste being dumped in landfill.”
“Increasing gas and petrol prices (and CO2 emissions), and the high price of precious metals, add to the need to find reliable alternative resources,” continues Lynne. “This, coupled with pressure from local councils and the EU to reduce landfill, makes conversion of waste into energy a very attractive solution.”
Fuel cells split hydrogen to create electricity without greenhouse gas production. The fuel cell created by the bio-methods can make electricity as effectively as current commercial fuel cells.
The team is moving into the commercialisation phase of this research. Their goal is to see these techniques being applied to produce clean fuel cells to create reliable, greener energy whilst minimising waste.