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Bioelectrochemical Treatment of Gaseous By-products

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryA new method for using gaseous compounds to produce energy, while also removing harmful by-products, was invented by ORNL researchers. This invention offers an efficient use of waste products, such as sulfurous compounds or carbon monoxide, and can reduce the overall cost of industrial operations.DescriptionIndustrial processes often output gas by-products that are either processed as waste or directly released into the environment. These outputs are both a financial and an environmental liability. This invention addresses both issues by producing energy on site that can be used for fuel refining, biomass processing, or other production or waste treatment needs. Environmental outputs are significantly reduced, and any remaining waste products contain a reduced quantity of harmful compounds.

The invention uses microbes in a bioelectrochemical system to treat gas streams. The microbes are capable of oxidatively degrading the gas compounds while also producing electrical energy or hydrogen. A proton-conducting medium supports the movement of protons during these processes from the anode to the cathode. To use the device for electricity production, the anode is in electrical communication with the device’s cathode.
  • Reduces the costs associated with removal of hydrogen sulfide or carbon monoxide
  • Produces electricity or hydrogen
  • Electricity or hydrogen can be reused for hydrotreatment processes
  • Operates by renewable means
Applications and Industries
  • Treatment of sulfide-containing gas streams
  • Treatment of carbon monoxide–containing gas streams
  • Petroleum refining
  • Syngas to bioenergy conversion
  • Other industrial operations where hydrogen sulfide or carbon monoxide is a by-product
More InformationInventor:
Abhijeet P. Borole
Biosciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20100252443
The present invention relates to a method for producing electrical energy or hydrogen gas from a gas stream containing one or more gaseous compounds that are oxidatively degradable by microbes, the method comprising contacting the gas stream with an anode of a bioelectrochemical device, said anode containing said microbes which oxidatively degrade one or more of said gaseous compounds while producing electrical energy or hydrogen gas by said oxidative degradation, wherein: (i) said anode is sufficiently porous such that gas is permitted to flow therethrough, (ii) said anode contains on its surface and/or interior portions a proton-conducting medium, and (iii) said anode is in electrical communication with a cathode of the bioelectrochemical device. The invention is also directed to a bioelectrochemical device (e.g., microbial fuel cell) configured to accomplish the above method.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 12/01/2009
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200802058DevelopmentAvailable10/20/201012/08/2010

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