Generating electricity while microbes clean wastewater – how wastewater treatment plants could go from brown to green

Microbial fuel cells are structures that behave like batteries, but are powered by ever-present environmental microbes. Researchers in South Korea measured the ability of Microbial Fuel Cell prototypes to generate electricity while cleaning up wastewater. Results indicate that this technology could radically reduce the energy requirements of wastewater treatment facilities.

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Urban Environmental Science – why is it important and what is the big deal?

But let’s think about it. Over 50% of the global population currently resides in cities. Cities are seen as opportunity havens and projections suggest the global population living in cities will surpass 60% by 2050 (UN 2016). That’s a lot of people living on a relatively small area of land. Traditionally, we have created sanitary cities where the objective was to remove waste through engineered infrastructure (think sewers) and move water along controlled waterways (think channelized or buried streams). Nowadays, we are understanding the value of green areas in cities and are moving towards studying the urban environment to improve city design and make it more sustainable.

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