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Waste to Value: EPA’s Role in Advancing Science and Business

2013 December 19
Electrogenic bioreactor containing "Bactobots" and wastewater.

Electrogenic bioreactor containing “Bactobots” and wastewater.

By Marguerite Huber

In case you missed it in the news, a New-York-based micro-robotics firm, Tauriga, acquired Cincinnati-based Pilus Energy last month. In the business world, acquisitions and mergers happen all the time, but I bet you are wondering what makes this one significant to the EPA?

Tauriga CEO, Seth M. Shaw describes Pilus Energy’s technology as “extraordinary.” What makes it so is that Pilus Energy operates with the goal of turning waste into value, turning sewage into electricity to power approximately 275 million homes a year!

Their innovative technology claims to transform dirty, wastewater into electricity, as well as clean water, and other valuable biogases and chemicals. The secret to this venture is the help of genetically enhanced bacteria, given the more affectionate name of “Bactobots.”

“Essentially we are mining wastewater for valuable resources similarly to gold mining companies mining ore for gold,” Shaw confides.

Now this is where the EPA comes in.

Dr. Vasudevan Namboodiri, an EPA scientist with 20 years of research and development experience, explains that EPA and Pilus are investigating the potential for Pilus Energy technology in the water industry.

With EPA’s technical oversight, Pilus Energy’s goal is to eventually build an industrial pilot-scale prototype.  This type of technology is still in its infancy and will be many years away from large scale production, Dr. Namboodiri explained.

Large- scale usage of the technology could possibly be revolutionary, and provide great benefits in the future. Tauriga CEO Shaw notes that, “There is an enormous global need to maximize all resources available, due to population growth and energy costs.” If applied to whole communities in both developing and developed countries, there could be major benefits such as:

  • Reduced wastewater treatment costs
  • Creation of a renewable energy source
  • Valuable chemical byproducts that could be used towards renewable products
  • Higher quality water for both drinking and recreation
  • Healthier food due to less contaminates in soil
  • Improved ecosystem benefits or services and biodiversity if applied in an entire watershed

Even though the large scale benefits will likely not be seen until years from now, the partnership between Pilus Energy and the EPA helps support EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.

About the Author: Marguerite Huber is a Student Services Contractor with EPA’s Science Communications Team.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. Bouchakour permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Congratulation,throughout humanity, there’s been wonderful inventions but in my humble opinion this is the most interesting and practical.
    Imagine the use of a such system in desert environments or poor as African Countries often use wastewater because of the scarcity of water

  2. Arman.- permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Big Step……………!!!

    Now we’re not only hoping power generator from conservative energy, but also wastewater that may people think it’s impossible.

  3. Jeff Brommer permalink
    December 19, 2013

    Incredible technology that is hard to grasp, but is a reality! Tauriga hit the jackpot with this Company (Pilus). Hard to believe their (Tauriga’s) stock price is under a penny a share! I looked up their ticker symbol and they are an OTC Bulletin Board company trading under the symbol “TAUG”. The news they’ve had out over the past few months is very impressive! And, according to SEC Filings, their CEO, Seth Shaw has been buying stock big-time on the open market, and has been for the past 6 months. Now we know why! This is the kind of technology that seems years off, but according to one of their own press releases put out not too long ago, a “little” beer maker known as Anheuser-Busch is just one company interested in their technology to treat brewery waste water. Nice to know this technologcases developed by an American company! Way to go Pilus!

  4. Heidi permalink
    December 30, 2013

    If your prodoct is good (what you salling are genuine why your stock declined, I envest invest in your stopid stocks, and I lost lot of money………and time.

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