This is a story idea from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and External Relations staff member identified at the end of the tip.
By introducing microbial fuel cells into the corn stover biorefinery waste recovery process, a team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has demonstrated a new way to produce bioenergy from the process waste stream. The process developed by ORNL's Abhijeet Borole and colleagues from the University of Tennessee and National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides a direct alternative to generate electricity compared to a mature but multi-step path that uses anaerobic digestion. Major advantages of the ORNL method include the ability to convert organics, which are difficult to degrade, into electricity or hydrogen. In addition the changes can lead to reductions in the amount of fresh water required in the process and the potential to handle high concentrations of ammonia. Details of the study are available in the paper, titled "Conversion of Residual Organics in Corn Stover-Derived Biorefinery Stream to Bioenergy via a Microbial Fuel Cell," published in Environmental Science & Technology.
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