kpix-7-2013-masthead kcbs 7-2013-masthead

Local

Stanford Researcher Turns Wastewater Into Energy That Can Power Treatment Plants

View Comments
A wastewater treatment plant. (Dublin San Ramon Services District)

A wastewater treatment plant. (Dublin San Ramon Services District)

(CBS) Ryan Takeo
Ryan Takeo joined KPIX 5 in June of 2013 as a General Assignment...
Read More

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Trending Stories On CBS SF

weed wildfire 091514 Stanford Researcher Turns Wastewater Into Energy That Can Power Treatment Plants Wildfire In Northern California Town Of Weed Burns 100 Homes, At Least 1,500 Evacuated

hurricane odile Stanford Researcher Turns Wastewater Into Energy That Can Power Treatment Plants Hurricane Odile Slams Into Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula Near Cabo San Lucas

jung Stanford Researcher Turns Wastewater Into Energy That Can Power Treatment Plants Notorious Ex-Cocaine Kingpin George Jung Out of Prison, Living In San Francisco

strange lights Stanford Researcher Turns Wastewater Into Energy That Can Power Treatment Plants What Was That Strange Streak Of Light In The Bay Area Sky Friday Morning?

marijuanagrowing Stanford Researcher Turns Wastewater Into Energy That Can Power Treatment Plants Mysterious Men Dropping From Helicopters To Chop Down NorCal Marijuana Grows

ANTIOCH  (KPIX 5) – A Stanford engineer has developed a way for sewage treatment plants to power themselves by taking the waste out of wastewater and turning it into energy.

“We’re converting the ammonia in the wastewater to nitrous oxide gas,” said Yaniv Scherson, the Stanford researcher who created the process.

Nitrogen is found in ammonia, which naturally occurs in urine, and when it is released back into the water stream it can kill ecosystems.

“[When] discharged into a water body, it causes what’s called a ‘dead zone’,” explained Scherson.

His process pumps oxygen into ammonia and turns it into nitrous oxide. You probably know of the gas’s other applications: laughing gas at the dentist, a race car driver’s secret weapon, and rocket fuel.

“That is not done anywhere else in the world, so this is a game-changer in our industry,” said Gary Darling, General Manager of Delta Diablo Sanitation District, which is where Scherson is completing a pilot program.

The process could eventually power 5 to 10 percent of Delta Diablo’s Antioch facility, which treats 13 million gallons of wastewater a day.

Eventually, researchers hope the process can be refined enough to create new wastewater plants that are energy self-sufficient.

 

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53,916 other followers