Published: Aug. 12, 2017


Wastewater treatment is essential for preventing disease and protecting the environment, but current treatment processes are costly, energy intensive, and emit greenhouse gas due to fossil fuel use and organic degradation.

Market Opportunity

In the U.S. alone, the market size for wastewater treatment equipment was worth over $35 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow by 6% CAGR to $55 billion by 2023.


Prof. Jason Ren has developed a new microbial electrolytic carbon capture approach to transform wastewater treatment to a carbon negative and energy positive process. Rather than consuming huge amounts of chemicals and energy to treat the wastewater and discharge the effluent into the sewer or water body, this process generates positive energy (hydrogen gas), chemicals (carbonate or liquid fuel), and reusable water. Plus, it directly captures CO2 from flue gas or the atmosphere, which generates additional carbon credits and environmental benefits. The findings offer the possibility that wastewater could be treated effectively on-site without the risks or costs typically associated with disposal, potentially even transforming wastewater treatment into a revenue stream for industry.