Hydrogen Could Be Produced from Sewage and Dough

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Hydrogen fuel cells have long been hailed as the next big thing to replace petroleum in cars, but there is one major problem: hydrogen is usually produced from fossil fuels. Fortunately, a multitude of companies are looking at alternative hydrogen sources— including sewage and dough.

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A Japanese company called Kajima has been looking into the sewage idea in conjunction with Tokyo University. The company’s research shows that microbes can create hydrogen from human waste and run-off water from rice fields.

Kajima’s prototype fuel cell can generate 130W from a cubic meter of waste. While this isn’t efficient enough to take to market quite yet, the company expects a commercial product by 2020.

Sapporo Breweries, on the other hand, has a product much closer to commercial launch. The popular beer maker has been working on a plan to decompose waste dough at factory bakeries for hydrogen production since 2005. As of right now, the company is able to produce 25,000 liters of hydrogen from 125kg of waste food— a big enough number that Sapporo’s technology will be on the market for food-processing plants starting next year.

Who knows— if this technology takes off, maybe the often-ridiculed hydrogen economy will become a reality.

Photo Credit: Digital World Tokyo

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