He is turning waste into commodity with DOE grant

He’s lab developing a technology to upgrade biogas produced from wastewater bioenergy recovery systems

Brandie Jefferson 
Zhen (Jason) He

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $2.3 million grant to a team led by Zhen (Jason) He, a professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis’ McKelvey School of Engineering.

The project, which also includes researchers from Cornell University, Virginia Tech and Argonne National Laboratory, will develop a technology to upgrade the biogas produced from wastewater bioenergy recovery systems into a gas with more than 95% CH4, or methane.

Also known as biomethane or renewable natural gas (RNG), this high-CH4 gas can be used directly as fuel or can be fed into a gas pipeline, turning “waste” into a commodity.

Ultimately, the project aims to deliver a scalable technology that can upgrade current biogas systems, acting as a bridge to push basic research toward further technological development.

In addition to research partners, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be involved in the early stages as an industrial partner.

The research team also includes Fangqiong Ling, an assistant professor, and Benjamin Kumfer, a research assistant professor, both in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering at McKelvey Engineering.

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