Wastewater to power

Monday, 07 December, 2009

Murdoch’s scientists are showing off the latest developments in cutting-edge bioelectrical systems that turn wastewater into electricity.

Investors around the world are turning their attention to the work of Professor Goen Ho and his PhD student Ka Yu Cheng for their newly patented bioelectrical system (BES).

The rotatable bioelectrochemical contactor (RBEC) the Murdoch team has developed is claimed to increase the efficiency of the process by more than 15%.

“Just by doing something simple you can increase the efficiency without using any more power,” Professor Ho said.

Rotating biological contractors have been used by wastewater treatment industries for 30 years, but the Murdoch RBEC system is said to be the first of its kind. Cheng said he was incredibly excited about the success of the three-year project.

“I find the research fascinating as it allows me to see how microorganisms work at electron flow levels,” he said.

“The RBEC project is a truly interdisciplinary topic, involving not only biotechnology but mechanical and material science.”

Cheng came to Murdoch as an international student from Hong Kong and not only received a Discoverers Grant from the University, but also a Huber Technology Award for his work in the field. He said he owed much to the guidance and support of his two PhD supervisors, Professor Ho and Professor Ralph Cord-Ruwisch.

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