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Earth & Energy

Genetically Enhanced Bacteria Could Transform Wastewater Into Electricity

Charmaine CaparasJune 21st 2016

What were you doing when you were 18-years-old? Probably not turning wastewater into electricity, but that’s just what this teen science whiz from British Columbia in Canada is doing.

Austin Wang, a Vancouver high school student, wants to turn the one billion liters of wastewater that gets flushed down toilets and sent down sink drains every day into electricity.

The 18-year-old found a way to genetically modify microorganisms so that they could clean the wastewater and generate electricity at the same time.

If proven effective, this method could possibly generate up to 600 gigawatts of energy from waste biomass. “If we get efficiencies high enough, it’s theoretically achievable,” says Wang.

An average household in the province uses around 900 kilowatt-hours per month, estimates BC Hydro. Whether or not this will actually be implemented remains to be seen, but it is an inspiring idea.

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