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Bioenergy from wastewater-based biomass

Ronald C. Sims Sean K. Bedingfield Reese Thompson Judith L. Sims

*Corresponding author: Ronald C. Sims ron.sims@usu.edu

Bioengineering2016,1,103doi:10.3934/bioeng.2016.1.103

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has stated that biomass is the only renewable resource that can supplant petroleum-based liquid transportation fuels in the near term. Wastewater is beginning to be viewed as a potential resource that can be exploited for biomass production and conversion to bioenergy. We suggest that using wastewater from municipalities and industries as a resource for cultivating biomass and combining wastewater treatment with the production of biomass for bioenergy would provide benefits to both industries. Two waste-based biomass production systems that currently have large nationwide infrastructures include: (1) wastewater treatment systems that can be used to cultivate algae biomass, and (2) land application/treatment systems for non-food terrestrial biomass. These existing infrastructures could be used in the relatively near future for waste-based biomass production and conversion to bioenergy, thereby reducing capital costs and scalability challenges while making a contribution to energy independence and national security.

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