Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory masthead A-Z Index Berkeley Lab masthead U.S. Department of Energy logo Phone Book Jobs Search
Tech Transfer
Licensing Interest Form Receive Customized Tech Alerts

Cost-Effective Bioelectrical Remediation of Xenobiotics

IB-2385

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Ex situ treatment of contaminated water and wastewater
  • In situ treatment of contaminated soil and associated groundwater
  • Treatment of household, industrial, and agricultural waste streams contaminated by perchlorate, chlorate, gasoline, monoaromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, polychlorinated benzenes, heavy metals, radionuclides, pesticides, herbicides, and textile dyes

ADVANTAGES:

  • Easy to maintain, energy-efficient, and cost-effective
  • Real-time online monitoring and feedback control of hydrogen and oxygen levels
  • No need for chemical electron donors or electron acceptors
  • Treats a broad range of contaminants, individually or in mixtures
  • Stimulates both oxidative and reductive biological metabolisms
  • Eliminates biofouling, distribution pipeline corrosion, and the production of disinfection by-products including carcinogenic trihalomethanes

ABSTRACT:

John Coates and Cameron Thrash of Berkeley Lab have developed a new xenobiotics bioremediation system that can be used to treat contaminated soil and water, including household, industrial, and agricultural waste streams containing perchlorate, chlorate, gasoline, monoaromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, polychlorinated benzenes, heavy metals, radionuclides, pesticides, herbicides, and textile dyes. The Berkeley Lab system offers a cost-effective, energy-efficient, chemical-free, and flexible alternative to existing bioremediation systems.

Whereas conventional bioelectrical remediation methods rely on the addition of chemicals to provide electron donors or acceptors to stimulate the remediative organism’s metabolic process, the Berkeley Lab system uses an electrical current to electrolyze the contaminated liquid in a single-chamber bioreactor, producing hydrogen gas (H2) at the cathode surface, and oxygen gas (O2) at the anode surface. These gases are then bioavailable to stimulate the activity of a broad diversity of microorganisms to biodegrade or biotransform an extensive range of xenobiotics such as chlorinated ethenes, halogenated compounds, and dioxins into benign end-products.

The Berkeley Lab invention also allows users to control electron donor or acceptor production by adjusting the electrical current. This innovative one-step process maintains an environment that stimulates the microorganisms’ biological metabolism of contaminants, and eliminates problems typically associated with standard systems, such as biofouling due to the overgrowth of microorganisms.

STATUS:

  • Published PCT Patent Application WO2008/140590 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

To learn more about licensing a technology from LBNL see http://www.lbl.gov/Tech-Transfer/licensing/index.html.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Trash, J.C., Van Trump, J.I., Weber, K. A., Miller, E., Achenbach, L. A., Coates, J. D., "Electrochemical Stimulation of Microbial Perchlorate Reduction," Environ. Sci. & Technolog. Published on Web 02/01/2007.

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2385

SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:

See More Enviromental Technologies