When organic materials are treated in wastewater treatment plants, they are degraded and biogas is produced. A new study conducted by scientists at the University of New South Wales shows that it is possible to separate methane from this biogas and then use it to generate energy.
Such a process could make wastewater treatment plants at least partially sustainable. Scientists have indeed discovered a new, very subtle form of graphene, which makes it possible to develop a kind of filter for extracting the methane contained in biogas. The latter does not only contain the mixture of methane, but also many other impurities that arise during the treatment of wastewater during anaerobic digestion.
The researchers, led by Rakesh Joshi, are now trying to translate this discovery into a technology that can be adapted to these treatment plants. Currently, technologies are available to reuse the biogas generated during wastewater treatment. However, with this new graphene-based device, better results could be achieved as methane can be better captured.
The purified methane can then be used in a wide variety of applications, including the transport sector. Heri Bustamante, another scientist involved in this project, talks, for example, about applications for the supply of public buses that would enable a kind of recycling economy, at least at the city level.
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