Sun and sewage

A solar-powered device that generates hydrogen gas from wastewater could provide a sustainable energy source while improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment, according to US researchers. Yat Li of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and colleagues report a hybrid device that combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) and a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC) to degrade organic matter in the wastewater via bacterial action and to generate electricity that then boosts the PEC -driven electrolysis of water to generate hydrogen and oxygen. When fed with wastewater and illuminated in a solar simulator, the PEC-MFC device showed continuous production of hydrogen gas at an average rate of 0.05 cubic meters per day