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Waste Water Conversion Could Power Brazilian Fruit Juice Factories

Research at São Paulo State University suggests orange juice factories may be able to generate power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by producing hydrogen from the sugar in their own effluent.

“Using waste water from orange juice production would work best on a small scale, creating energy on the factory grounds without the need for transportation,” SciDevNet reports. “The energy is meant to be fed right back into running the factory.”

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“We can combine the treatment of the industrial effluents with energy generation,” said researcher Sandra Maintinguer of SPSU’s Center for Monitoring and Research of the Quality of Fuels, Biofuels, Crude Oil and Derivatives. “We propose to install a reactor to capture hydrogen and generate electricity out of the waste water. This energy could be used as a sustainable solution to provide electricity to factories.”

The technology “is especially suited to many developing nations, because of the temperatures at which the hydrogen-producing bacteria prosper,” Ortiz writes. But “energy production from hydrogen in Brazil remains limited to academic institutions and scientific laboratories as it is economically uncompetitive.”