Dr. Bruce Logan of Penn State University is currently conducting a pilot study with the hopes of becoming a mature project within five year. His study involves extracting hydrogen from the wastewater generated from the wine making process (the water mixed with the pulped vines, leaves, seeds, etc) through organic matter hydrolysis. Basically, there is fermenting bacteria that excretes enzymes after feeding on the decaying matter in the wastewater. These enzymes break down proteins into amino acids through hydrolysis, which breaks the bond in water (H20), resulting in Hydrogen (H) molecules and Hydroxide (OH)molecules. Once sequestered (which is a trick problem in and of itself), the Hydrogen can then be used as a gas to power equipment or stored in batteries to supply electricity.
Dr. Logan said there is 10 times the amount of energy in the wastewater from the wine making process than is used to treat it. Therefore, there is a great deal of potential in this process and he seems hopeful to exploit this untapped energy source.
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