Following device might not have an elegant outlook, but this hybrid waste water purifier as well as electricity generator could be one essential gadget to help human survive in any emergency events where healthy drinking water and electricity are the major obstacles.

An invention by researchers from Pennsylvania State University, the hybrid machine is equipped with microbial fuel cells and reverse
electrodialysis, capable to produce enough energy to keep itself running.

There are two chambers for the microbial fuel cells separated by a semi-permiable layer, one chamber is used to hold waste water and the other one consists of electrode covered by microbes.


From left to right: Penn State’s Younggy Kim, Roland Cusick, and Bruce E. Logan
[Photos Credit: Bruce Logan]

The idea behind the two chambers design is to allow the microbes to consume and digest those organic materials in the waste water, they will in the end produce electrons, protons and CO2 for the process of creating electricity.

Those produced electrons, protons and CO2 will eventually move through the microbe-covered electrode chamber through the circuit and end up on the other side of the chamber where these electrons will be recombined with protons and this reaction itself will produces clean water.


This hybrid machine is meant for emergency situation where post-disaster survivals need to maintain enough liquid flow in their body to stay healthy, and electricity for visibility in the darkness as well as source of energy for communications or basic cooking.

This hybrid machine will need a mere five membranes to produce 7-fold of power compare a pure electrodialysis battery which requires about 20 membranes while produces little electricity. Hopefully this time of hybrid machine for obtaining self-sustaining healthy water and electricity will be widely commercialize at affordable price tag in near future.

So, next time somebody tell you that it is the end of the world when no fossil fuel exists around us, that’s one BIG LIE!

[ Source: IEEE Spectrum ; Bruce Logan at Pennsylvania State University ]