Massachusetts-based biomass company Qteros and Israel’s Applied CleanTech (ACT) have announced the development of a process to turn wastewater into car fuel. The process marries Qteros’ microbe-eating cellulose technology with ACT’s wastewater solid recycling solutions to turn municipal and agricultural waste liquids into ethanol.
The companies say that they are the first to demonstrate commercial success in creating ethanol from municipal and agricultural waste cellulose, and that the process is cheaper than other industrial scale cellulosic ethanol production processes.
The research was supported by a grant from the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, which funds joint efforts between Israel and the US.
‘Our customer is every municipality that has a wastewater treatment plant,’ said Jeff Hausthor, Qteros co-founder and senior project manager. ‘It will provide a value-added product for municipal wastewater plants, thereby making treatment plants much less expensive to run and helping local governments throughout the world with their constrained budgets.’
ACT spent six years developing its sewage recycling system (SRS), which creates a feedstock called Recyllose. SRS is in use in Israel and the US, producing Recyllose-based products from sewage sludge. Qteros’ Q Microbe technology can turn the feedstock into ethanol, producing an estimated 120 – 135 gallons of ethanol per ton of Recyllose.
ACT CEO Israel Biran said, ‘It also helps answer the question of what municipalities can do with their sewage sludge, a major challenge now facing every wastewater treatment plant operator.’
Qteros is a venture-backed US biofuel company, with investors including Venrock, Battery Ventures, BP and Soros Fund Management. Earlier this year, it received $2m in government appropriations towards the development of a pilot plant in Massachusetts.
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