Science 2 min read

Improving the Production of Hydrogen from Food Waste

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Victoria 1 / Shutterstock.com

Purdue University scientists developed a simplified and more efficient way of producing hydrogen gas from food waste using yeast.

Scientists at Purdue University have developed a more efficient method of producing hydrogen from food waste.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans discard about 40 percent of their food annually. That’s about $200 billion worth of food that goes to waste every year.

But scientists soon figured out a way to convert these waste food into renewable energy. In a process known as bacterial degradation, discarded food can be processed into hydrogen gas to power vehicles, among other things.

Unfortunately, the process is far from efficient.

Along with a slow production rate, scientists usually struggle with a complex preprocessing of the raw materials. As a result, producing a considerable volume of hydrogen gas could take between hours to days.

Now the researchers at Purdue University have developed a novel approach to making the process more efficient. It involves using yeast. 

A Simplified Way of Producing Hydrogen Gas From Food Waste

In their new method, the Purdue University team used yeast to break down food thrash into clean hydrogen for further use. What’s more, the technique required minimal preprocessing steps.

Speaking about the new method, one of the researchers, who is also a professor of physics at Purdue University Northwest, Robert Kramer said:

“Our system basically allows a user to take food waste, grind it, place it in a reactor, and use our process to create hydrogen in about 18-24 hours. That’s much faster than the days it takes with other methods.”

Kramer and his team have validated their technique using various yeast strains. According to the researcher, the system could increase the efficiency of hydrogen production from food waste by 20 to 25 percent.

Perhaps the best part of the Purdue method is that it removes the risk of an explosion that comes with hydrogen as an energy source.

Clean fuel from food thrash has numerous applications in transportation as well as agro-food industries. Kramer also points out that they could also multiplex the method with solar thermal technology for a stand-alone power source.

Read More: Finding A Cost-Efficient Way to Make Hydrogen Gas Out of Water

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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