Conventional wastewater treatment consumes 2 percent of global power capacity, some 80,000 megawatts, at a cost of $40 billion per year.
Using conventional microbial fuel-cell technology and its own proprietary engineering, Emefcy harvests energy from wastewater, generating enough to power the entire treatment process. In the treatment of particularly carbon-rich industrial wastewater, the company says, the process produces excess electricity that can be fed back into the grid at a profit.
In microbial fuel cells, naturally occurring microorganisms oxidize wastewater. An anode and cathode, placed a critical distance apart in the water, create an electrical circuit from the electrons gained from this oxidation.