Office for Technology Commercialization

Hydrogen Extraction from Wastewater

Technology #20130046

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Hydrogen ExtractionEnergy ProductionWastewater Energy
William Arnold, PhD
Associate Department Head, Department of Civil Engineering, College of Science and Engineering
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Paige Novak, PhD
Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, College of Science and Engineering
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Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending 20140256007

Energy Production from Hydrogen in Wastewater

Hydrogen extraction from wastewater for use as energy is possible with a recent University of Minnesota innovation. The system includes a membrane laden with hydrogen-generating bacteria. The hydrogen is then passed into hollow fibers for removal and can be utilized by fuel cells for energy production. The process does not require costly wastewater aeration at the time of disposal, is modular and can be altered to fit many liquid waste streams including industrial, agricultural, and sanitary waste.

Wastewater Energy

Wastewater is a nutrient-filled and energy-dense substance that is costly to remove from industrial circumstances. There exists a large market for exploiting wastewater for its chemical energy. However, current methods of exploiting wastewater are harmful to the environment and expensive. These methods still require resource-intensive aeration of the exploited water at the time of disposal.


  • Efficient hydrogen production
  • Removes need for expensive wastewater aeration
  • Lower cost water treatment (anticipated)
  • Phase of Development Proof of Concept. Laboratory-tested.