Scientists have found a way to turn bad wine into good energy, a step, they hope, toward a new, cost-effective way to treat wastewater generated by wineries. The process, currently being tested in Napa, uses a common bacteria to turn unwanted vinegar and sugars into electricity and hydrogen. This should help cut the cost of treating wastewater, currently quite expensive, though a commercially viable microbial electrolysis cell may take five years to develop.
Meanwhile, in India scientists have developed a microbial fuel cell that uses wine to produce energy. They've deployed two different bacteria that can spoil wine, using single cultures of each bacteria as well as both together, which produces more current. "The mixture of the cell cultures improves metabolic degradation," says one of the lead researchers, though the amount generated is still too small to be useful.