Researchers of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have developed a new “BiogàsPlus” technology which increases the production of biogas from organic waste by 200% with the controlled introduction of iron oxide nanoparticles into the waste treatment process.

The iron oxide nanoparticles “feed” the bacteria which break down organic matter. This substantially increases the production of biogas while transforming the iron nanoparticles into an innocuous salt.

With current technology, only 30% to 40% of organic matter is converted into biogas. The first tests conducted with BiogàsPlus increased this by up to 200%.

So far, BiogàsPlus has been successfully applied in cellulose and mud found in urban waste treatment plants, but it could potentially be used in any anaerobic waste digestion processes, such as agricultural or industrial waste treatment.

The pilot test of the technology was funded with $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation