Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Oct 19

Turning Wastewater into Ethanol

Posted in Energy Inventions | Ethanol Fuel | Waste to Energy

Wastewater into Ethanol As the world continues to search for alternative fuels to fuel our cars and heat our homes, many different opportunities are being explored and there has finally been a significant breakthrough in turning wastewater into ethanol as an automobile fuel source. Qteros and Applied Clean Tech have teamed up to create a biofuel that will get us that much closer to having another true “green” energy source. Water treatment systems are expensive to run and have presented communities where they are located with some significant challenges. Most notably, what they can do with the sludge that is left over once the wastewater has been treated. Plant managers may no longer faced with the difficult task of figuring out this problem.


Jeff Hausthor, Senior Project Manager and Qteros Co-founder, is extremely optimistic about the opportunities that turning wastewater into ethanol will present in the very near future. He projects that the future customer base will be “every municipality that has a wastewater treatment plant.” Not only that, but turning wastewater into ethanol will severely cut down on operating costs for each and every water treatment plant that is involved.

This joint venture is a perfect example of what our energy companies need to do to continue advancements in alternative fuels. While it is unlikely that either of these companies could have achieved this task on their own, by combining their technologies and working together, they were able to create a “high yield process” that is technically advanced and will eventually prove to be profitable.

The United States government continues to push for alternative fuels and wants the usage tripled over the next two decades. With more and more research being done on things like turning wastewater into ethanol, the country moves ever closer to being able to achieve that goal.

  • Allen Gale

    This is a great discovery, especially to be in the U.S.! There is one HUGE problem with this plan, and that is that it seems to be that the developers are looking to license the technology to ENERGY PRODUCERS! That is, by and large, Big Oil, who are not interested in anything that will detract from their primary revenue source – imported oil! One consideration of doing business with mainstream American corporations is that they would rather control and shelve new technologies if those will not support their “status quo”. Better to start new corporation(s) to use the technology than try to sell it to existing firms that are steeped in a tradition of a competing product.

  • Francisco A Roque

    All that is ok but leave corn and other food products out of the way, since production of hydrogen to power everything seems out of the question.

  • slaps

    I wonder if this will make treatment cost effective enough to be used in feedlots and other livestock operations.

  • Bonnie Parker-Duke

    What water in Africa? It seems to me that the big problem in much of Africa now is the extreme drought conditions.

  • David Lockwood

    Seriously, most of the history of alternative fuel technologies, has been dictated by the vested interests of the current fuel market. Technologies that don’t require a centralized distribution infrastructure, are suppressed. In favor of those requiring such an infrastructure, as these can be controlled and fuel prices manipulated to maximize profits.

  • http://www.energytype.com Aleks

    It would be quite enough, if produced fuel can covers treatment process expenses. It is clear that can’t be produced huge amount of fuel, but monetizing waste water treatment reduces industrial costs. Hope that will be common accepted in industry

  • Bill Partanen

    This seems to imply that you are going to turn the entire waste water stream into ethanol. Are you dealing with the solids content and turning that into ethanol or are you saying that you have found a way to burn water?

  • slaps

    Bill Partanen,

    Waste water is first put in settling tanks. This creates two streams. One is water, the other sludge.
    The concept in this article works with that sludge. The sludge is digested and the solids are trucked to a landfill or incinerated.

    So, it doesn’t work with the entire waste water stream or with the solids. It works with the sludge. It has an effect on the solids, though. It reduces the amount of solids to 1/3 of what it would have been with ordinary digestion.

  • Richard

    We should be aware though that these alternative sources of energy still spew out a tiny fraction of greenhouse emissions. I think we should consider getting solar power instead. 😛

  • Tharindu

    I disagree with Richard, ethanol can be used as a good transition fuel, to buy us time until solar power is made commercially viable.


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