Talk about a renewable energy source: Fast Company reports on a sewage-treatment facility in Fountain Valley, California, that has been successfully converting its waste gases into electricity, heat, and hydrogen for fuel-cell-powered autos since last fall.
According to Jack Brouwer, associate director at the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California at Irvine, the project is the first of its kind in the world. The Orange County facility can handle about two dozen hydrogen fill-ups a day, but researchers imagine sewage-derived hydrogen powering as many fuel-cell car we can produce in the near future. "It doesn’t have greenhouse emissions, it doesn’t have particulate emissions, and it doesn’t depend on foreign imports,” Brouwer says. “It’s a holistic solution that addresses all of those challenges."
Photo by Steve Zylius, University of California, Irvine
Reed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked at the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas Ever Thus.”