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Purple bacteria ‘batteries’ turn sewage into clean energy

Organic compounds in household sewage and industrial wastewater are a rich potential source of energy, bioplastics and even proteins for animal feed — but with no efficient extraction method, treatment plants discard them as contaminants. Now researchers have found an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solution.

Published in Frontiers in Energy Research, their study is the first to show that purple phototrophic bacteria — which can store energy from light — when supplied with an electric current can recover near to 100% of carbon from any type of organic waste, while generating hydrogen gas for electricity production.

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