An Israel-based company has developed a fuel cell to treat wastewater and generate energy. The microbial fuel cell known as “Emefcy” uses a permeable polyethylene plastic membrane filter that allows air in but doesn’t let liquid out.
The process works through bacteria releasing electrons in an oxygen-free environment, and involves an anode and cathode made of a carbon cloth that acts as a conductor.
According to the Emefcy website “Electricity can … be produced directly from degradation of organic matter in an Electrogenic Bioreactor (EBR) also known as a Microbial Fuel Cell. Like other fuel cells, an EBR has an anode chamber and a cathode chamber. The anaerobic anode chamber is most commonly connected internally to the cathode chamber by an ion exchange membrane, and the circuit is completed by an external wire. Electrogenic Bioreactors may use wastewater as a fuel, or more generally a dilute solution of a variety of organic materials in water.”