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Clean Power hypersolar could clean up Salton sea with system combining solar energy and wastewater

Published on January 17th, 2012 | by Tina Casey

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HyperSolar’s Green Gas Makes Fracking Obsolete

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January 17th, 2012 by
 
hypersolar could clean up Salton sea with system combining solar energy and wastewaterThe California company HyperSolar is developing a way to produce renewable hydrogen and natural gas from wastewater using solar energy, and that could spell trouble for the fracking industry. In contrast to fracking, a method of natural gas drilling that can put communities and agricultural areas at risk for water contamination, HyperSolar’s new technology would do the reverse: it could provide communities with a financial offset to improve wastewater treatment operations that clean up polluted lands, and enable future growth without increased pollution. As a special bonus feature, the whole system is pretty much guaranteed to be earthquake-free.

From Wastewater to Renewable Gas

CleanTechnica covered HyperSolar late last year, when the company announced it was seeking a patent for a system that uses solar energy to produce hydrogen and methane gas from water. In its latest move, the company is one-upping itself by applying the system to wastewater rather than using pure water as a feedstock. HyperSolar has teamed up with Suncentrix to perform a feasibility study for using its renewable technology at California’s Salton Sea. The state’s largest lake, Salton Sea has become degraded with agricultural runoff, and its nutrient-rich waters would actually enable HyperSolar’s system to generate more renewable energy.

Low-Cost Wastewater Treatment for Cash-Strapped Communities

HyperSolar is also developing its technology for application to municipal and industrial wastewater, and that should really have the fossil fuel industry quaking in its boots, especially the natural gas industry. Fossil fuels by nature entwine pollution and environmental destruction with economic growth, and the end result is that in order to create new jobs communities are stuck with skyrocketing mitigation and remediation costs, particularly in the form of energy-sucking wastewater treatment plants. By enabling a means for adding value to wastewater in the form of renewable energy extraction, HyperSolar’s system could provide more local governments with the financial means to improve their wastewater treatment facilities and improve quality of life while creating new green jobs.

New Technology, New Green Energy

Medicine, communications, transportation and many other fields have made startling technological advances  since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution,  yet the basic means of producing energy has barely changed since then. Only the renewable energy sector shows signs of shaking off the past. HyperSolar is just one example of a forward-thinking company that is mining wastewater for green gold through wastewater recovery operations and there is plenty more where that came from. Multi-faceted renewable energy systems like this are the wave of the future. The time is long past due for the energy industry to spark a revolution of its own.

Image: Salton Sea: License Attribution Some rights reserved by Seabamirum.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Lad

    i doubt that they would remove saline water to extract energy from it, only to return the byproducts to the sea. that would be completely hypocritical and very damaging to their image. besides, it’s the salinity in Salton Sea that attracts people to it to begin with.

  • James Van Damme

    Water is almost free here in NY. Electricity, not so much. But there’s a glut of gas, so you might have to wait until solar cells get much cheaper.

  • sustainerNYC

    Enormous implications for life and economy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/April-Pierson-Keating/811549506 April Pierson-Keating

    Someone told me years ago that you could collect methane off landfills. I wonder if there may be a way to collect it from our industrial farm animals, too. Is anyone working on a device for this?

    I live in West Virginia, where our governor is bent on fracking. He and the legislature are paid off by the OG industry, even as it continues to ravage our beautiful landscape. Remember, WV is also the land of coal mine explosions and mountaintop removal. I am part of a small group of concerned citizens trying to stop the progress of this industry, but our best efforts are a drop in the bucket compared with the massive amount of money the industry has to spend on buying politicians and PR campaigns. Almost every day I hear something new on the radio from the Industry trying to make people feel good about fracking, and it’s working. Historically poor, West Virginians will do almost anything (and I mean that in the meanest sense) for jobs.

    What can we do to alert people to the alternatives besides what we’re already doing to stop the death march? Writing letters to the editor, organizing, and using social media may make me feel good, but it feels like another case of David and Goliath…except this little David is getting beat hard!

    Thank you for what you are doing. Keep the faith!

    -april keating
    Buckhannon, WV

    • Chrissy

      There is a dairy farm that is using a method to extract methane gas from the cow manure. Not only does it run the entire farm on this, but also 400-600 houses nearby. I think they won an award for this.

    • Maura

      April, you can get involved in the movement to fight fracking, mountaintop blasting, tar sands extraction, and other dangerous, stupid, short-term fossil fuel extraction that benefits a few people for a few years while hastening catastrophic global climate change/ removing billions of gallons of irreplaceable fresh water from the hydrologic life of the planet; causing cancer, endocrine disorders, neurological illnesses, and lung disorders among children and adults; permanently scarring beautiful landscapes; destroying communities; and forever ruining peaceful ways of life. Learn more via Appalachia Rising and I Love Mountains, and contact the folks at CoalitionToProtectNewYork DOT org for more info. We are all in this together.

      • Maura

        Also, in a state that seems to be almost completely corrupted by industry, there are not many beacons of light. The only statewide group I could find that seems to be at least partly independent of industry is West Virginia Greenworks (Inc.) at http://www.wvgreenworks.com. There must be other, more local truly non-fossil-fuel-industry groups around, but they are under my radar screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/April-Pierson-Keating/811549506 April Pierson-Keating

    Someone told me years ago that you could collect methane off landfills. I wonder if there may be a way to collect it from our industrial farm animals, too. Is anyone working on a device for this?

    I live in West Virginia, where our governor is bent on fracking. He and the legislature are paid off by the OG industry, even as it continues to ravage our beautiful landscape. Remember, WV is also the land of coal mine explosions and mountaintop removal. I am part of a small group of concerned citizens trying to stop the progress of this industry, but our best efforts are a drop in the bucket compared with the massive amount of money the industry has to spend on buying politicians and PR campaigns. Almost every day I hear something new on the radio from the Industry trying to make people feel good about fracking, and it’s working. Historically poor, West Virginians will do almost anything (and I mean that in the meanest sense) for jobs.

    What can we do to alert people to the alternatives besides what we’re already doing to stop the death march? Writing letters to the editor, organizing, and using social media may make me feel good, but it feels like another case of David and Goliath…except this little David is getting beat hard!

    Thank you for what you are doing. Keep the faith!

    -april keating
    Buckhannon, WV

    • Anonymous

      Landfill gas harvesting is definitely an option, as is using animal waste for gas production. You might want to check out biodigesters. Turning animal waste into gas is a pretty low tech operation, it’s done at the household level in India to produce cooking gas.

      I doubt that landfill and feedlot gas will be a large part of our energy input but every bit helps and it keeps methane out of our atmosphere plus can potentially cause a bit of natural gas to be left in the ground.

      I think the thing you might really want to check into in WV is geothermal. A recent study found that WV has tremendous potential to produce electricity from geothermal and sell it on to other states. That could be a big income replacer for coal.

      Probably what the average person can do to help move us forward is to educate as many others as possible about our options. Many people don’t know that we have options to burning fossil fuel and, overall, they will provide us with cheaper electricity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/April-Pierson-Keating/811549506 April Pierson-Keating

    Someone told me years ago that you could collect methane off landfills. I wonder if there may be a way to collect it from our industrial farm animals, too. Is anyone working on a device for this?

    I live in West Virginia, where our governor is bent on fracking. He and the legislature are paid off by the OG industry, even as it continues to ravage our beautiful landscape. Remember, WV is also the land of coal mine explosions and mountaintop removal. I am part of a small group of concerned citizens trying to stop the progress of this industry, but our best efforts are a drop in the bucket compared with the massive amount of money the industry has to spend on buying politicians and PR campaigns. Almost every day I hear something new on the radio from the Industry trying to make people feel good about fracking, and it’s working. Historically poor, West Virginians will do almost anything (and I mean that in the meanest sense) for jobs.

    What can we do to alert people to the alternatives besides what we’re already doing to stop the death march? Writing letters to the editor, organizing, and using social media may make me feel good, but it feels like another case of David and Goliath…except this little David is getting beat hard!

    Thank you for what you are doing. Keep the faith!

    -april keating
    Buckhannon, WV

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/April-Pierson-Keating/811549506 April Pierson-Keating

    Someone told me years ago that you could collect methane off landfills. I wonder if there may be a way to collect it from our industrial farm animals, too. Is anyone working on a device for this?

    I live in West Virginia, where our governor is bent on fracking. He and the legislature are paid off by the OG industry, even as it continues to ravage our beautiful landscape. Remember, WV is also the land of coal mine explosions and mountaintop removal. I am part of a small group of concerned citizens trying to stop the progress of this industry, but our best efforts are a drop in the bucket compared with the massive amount of money the industry has to spend on buying politicians and PR campaigns. Almost every day I hear something new on the radio from the Industry trying to make people feel good about fracking, and it’s working. Historically poor, West Virginians will do almost anything (and I mean that in the meanest sense) for jobs.

    What can we do to alert people to the alternatives besides what we’re already doing to stop the death march? Writing letters to the editor, organizing, and using social media may make me feel good, but it feels like another case of David and Goliath…except this little David is getting beat hard!

    Thank you for what you are doing. Keep the faith!

    -april keating
    Buckhannon, WV

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