HyperSolar, Inc. the developer of a breakthrough technology to produce renewable hydrogen and natural gas using water and solar power, recently commented that its technology can help mitigate the high costs of wastewater treatment, while turning a liability into an opportunity.Effective treatment of wastewater is of particular importance in maintaining public health and protecting the environment. According to the EPA, drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately 3-4 percent of energy use in the United States, emitting over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually. Further, drinking water and wastewater plants are typically the largest energy consumers of municipal governments, accounting for 30-40 percent of total energy consumed.
“Instead of using pure water to produce renewable hydrogen, a very expensive starting point, we are optimizing our technology to work with municipal and industrial wastewater, which contains organic molecules of all kinds,” said Tim Young, HyperSolar CEO. “Billions of dollars are spent on energy to clean wastewater for reuse. Our process uses free sunlight to photo-oxidize (detoxify) wastewater to simultaneously produce molecular hydrogen and clean water. This zero-carbon hydrogen can then be used to power the wastewater treatment plant or turned into natural gas by combining it with CO2 for distribution using the existing natural gas infrastructure.”
Lux Research estimates that the capital cost for new or replacement wastewater treatment infrastructure is currently at $27 billion a year, and projected to grow at 1.5% annually. Dr. Vikram Pattarkine, HyperSolar’s Senior Advisor for Water Treatment, added, “Wastewater treatment no longer needs to be a liability. We can recover energy inherent in organic matter in wastewater and turn treatment into an opportunity.”