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Industrial Process Optimization of High-Value Byproducts from Novel Fungi-Based Food and Beverage Wastewater Treatment Technology
Phone: (408) 656-6126
Phone: (408) 656-6126
The Department of Energy (DOE) views the utilization of wet organic waste, such as food and beverage wastewater, to produce high value bioproducts as a strategic approach to the development of an advanced and sustainable economy. Wet organic waste treatment currently places a significant burden on producers but represents a potential 77 million metric ton per year feedstock. However, wet organic waste is often produced at distributed locations, with varying composition, and can be resource intensive to treat. There is a vital need to develop new technologies that are robust at varying scales and sufficiently flexible to treat a variety of different streams efficiently and effectively. The DOE is helping to develop novel methods of conversion that goes beyond simply handling waste,that use novel methods of conversion and produce high value byproducts during the treatment process. Emergy Labs is developing an engineered system using fungi as a biocatalyst for the efficient conversion of organic industrial wastewater, such as brewery wastewater, to high value biomaterials for filtration and separation applications. Using well developed submerged fungal fermentation and thermochemical processes, a novel conversion method is presented to simultaneously decontaminate brewery wastewater by over 80% and convert biogenic carbon into a patent pending, high performance, porous carbon material. This high value material can serve as a solid filtration media for a wide variety of industrial applications and has a shown a nearly 250% increase in performance over conventionally used materials. This DOE STTR Phase I is critical to optimize the downstream processes of the proposed fungal biorefinery for simultaneous wastewater treatment and domestic production of an advanced material. The work being done includes the investigation of industrial equipment for optimal mechanical dewatering. Forming equipment will be studied to produce industrial applicable granules to expand potential applications. The final material will be tested using industry standards to provide confidence of consistency and reproducibility. This work is critical to meet relevant scales of waste treatment/product production and position Emergy Labs to deploy the technology without delay.
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