Researchers in Toronto have found that it is now possible to create huge amounts of hydrogen at wastewater treatment plants. Treating human waste to extract hydrogen has been under discussion and development for years.
However, the researchers at the Ashbridges Bay facility found that by introducing dried sludge pellets to primary sludge, this will in fact kill the bacteria that in turn consumes the hydrogen in the sludge. The hydrogen produced in this new method can be used in any wastewater treatment facility.
The benefit of creating hydrogen this way is that the H2 gas can then be run through a fuel cell to create electricity to run the facility or sold for fuel for hydrogen cars. Excess electricity can be sold back to the grid. Producing hydrogen this way will also reduce the amount of methane produced by the facility, which is a harmful greenhouse gas.
The human to hydrogen connection is an interesting one indeed. So, a few years from now, when you’re driving your hydrogen car and next to the fuel valve you see a little sticker that says “Powered by Hydrogen”, be sure to cross out the “Hydrogen” and put “Humans” on the sticker instead.