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Nature · Economy

Pilus Energy

November 27th, 2013
in:Nature, Economy
by:Itai Lahat
located in:USA
tags:Green Economy, green technology

It is really frustrating to hear sometimes the reasons mentioned by people who think humanity is doomed with the upcoming environmental, pollution and energy crises. The number one reason for this gloom among people is the lack of knowledge about possible solutions for these challenges. Usually folks think we simply have no options.

So here is just one out of many options waiting to be practiced. Meet Pilus Energy, a company that promises to turn our human liquid waste into a source of clean water, energy and even to create a byproduct that can be used in industry. The company’s solution uses genetically enhanced “Bacterial Robots” in their electrogenic bioreactor (EBR) to harvest energy, water, and biogases and chemicals that can be used for other industrial processes.

“Take what we now think of as “waste”, and turn it into a renewable source of electricity, while also generating water, and valuable biogases. Our patented technology can tap into the estimated 1100 Terawatt hours of energy stored in waste molecules (enough to power about 275 million homes for a year, every year). We are able to extract this energy using a combination of synthetic biology, and fuel cell technology. We utilize our genetically enhanced Bacterial Robots (or BactoBots as we call them) to metabolize the contaminants in the water. So far we have two Bots. RemediBot (or Remi for short) is simply added to the water freely, whereas our GalvaniBotis housed in a fancy fuel cell called an electrogenic bioreactor (or EBR). There, Galvani is able to produce electricity, H2O, and valuable biogases and chemicals.” 

According to Pilus, their system uses what they call a Genetic Rights Management system as a form of security, not only for their proprietary technology, but also for the environment at large:

“This system consists of inert, non-toxic molecules that must be added to the feedstock before it comes in contact with the BactoBots otherwise they will self-destruct starting with their DNA and RNA. This system prevents theft of the BactoBots, as well as their escape into the environment. More generally the GeRM keys™ can be thought of as compositions, systems and methods which enable the prevention of unauthorized users from using proprietary genetically modified organisms or cells, such as bacteria, fungi, cell lines, protozoa, plants, animals and viruses. The compositions, systems and methods can also prevent the unauthorized release of the genetically modified organisms or cells into the environment.” 

In order to scale up their waste-to-energy solution, In order to scale up their waste-to-energy solution, Pilus Energy is turning to crowd funding with an Indiegogo campaign, with an initial goal of raising $50,000 to build a bench-level prototype for testing, which can help the company determine the efficacy of the process with different wastewater feedstocks and configurations.

 

Article written by:
Itai Lahat
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