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      Domestic wastewater treatment as a net energy producer--can this be achieved?

      Environmental Science & Technology

      Anaerobiosis, Bioelectric Energy Sources, Bioreactors, Conservation of Energy Resources, methods, Electricity, Sewage, Waste Disposal, Fluid, instrumentation

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          Abstract

          In seeking greater sustainability in water resources management, wastewater is now being considered more as a resource than as a waste-a resource for water, for plant nutrients, and for energy. Energy, the primary focus of this article, can be obtained from wastewater's organic as well as from its thermal content. Also, using wastewater's nitrogen and P nutrients for plant fertilization, rather than wasting them, helps offset the high energy cost of producing synthetic fertilizers. Microbial fuel cells offer potential for direct biological conversion of wastewater's organic materials into electricity, although significant improvements are needed for this process to be competitive with anaerobic biological conversion of wastewater organics into biogas, a renewable fuel used in electricity generation. Newer membrane processes coupled with complete anaerobic treatment of wastewater offer the potential for wastewater treatment to become a net generator of energy, rather than the large energy consumer that it is today.

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          Journal
          21749111
          10.1021/es2014264

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