Cambrian Innovation is developing and marketing a portfolio of environmental products with support from government and industry partners. These exciting new products include advanced bioelectrochemical wastewater treatment systems for industrial facilities and municipalities and a complementary bioelectrochemical sensor platform for precision agriculture applications.
Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) are a new technology based on the ability of certain microbes (termed exoelectrogens) to generate electricity via direct contact with electrodes. Traditional fuel cells and electrochemical systems use chemical catalysts that oxidize fuel (such as hydrogen) at anodes, and reduce oxygen at cathodes. A circuit between the anode and the cathode captures electrical energy released in the process.
BES technology can be thought of as fuel cells with a regenerative, living microbial catalyst. These microbes are capable of oxidizing and reducing a broad range of organic fuels, including negative cost fuel such as wastewater. The technology works because the exoelectrogenic bacteria can respire through direct contact with the electrodes in our systems. BES have a range of advantages over current technologies depending on the exact domain of application.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, Cambrian’s newest platform is a low-cost, real-time bioelectrochemical nitrate sensor for surface water monitoring. There is an increasingly urgent need for real-time, in-situ nitrate sensors across a range of industrial activities, including precision farming. Our sensor design and proprietary architecture leverages electrically active microbes to provide a low-cost, high-precision biological sensor capable of long-term sensing. This will enable our customers to achieve proper nitrate application, creating significant impact to product quality and baseline economics.
Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, Cambrian’s advanced denitrification technology is a game-changing solution. Denitrification involves the removal of nitrates from discharge water, a critical problem in a range of industrial and agricultural activities. This system uses nitrate-reducing, electrically-active bacteria in a proprietary cell and process configuration that enables denitrification without the addition of carbon. This radically cuts the operating cost of treatment for a wide spectrum of industrial users.
Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Cambrian has leveraged bioelectrochemical technology for advanced, crewed life support. Cambrian has demonstrated mass and energetic savings utilizing BES technology for electricity, hydrogen, and methane generation while treating water for reuse, creating multi-output systems capable of combining these functions. Cambrian has also applied the technology to develop an improved air revitalization system for life support aboard the International Space Station, focused on decreasing the cost associated with carbon dioxide reduction.