Research Highlights

Read this in Arabic

From wastewater to clean fuel

Published online 30 September 2016

Scientists synthesize a fibre that can generate hydrogen and fresh water from wastewater.

Biplab Das

A new study finds a way to use a platinum-coated, porous and hollow polymer fibre to produce clean fresh water and hydrogen from wastewater1

A research team, led by Pascal Elias Saikaly from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, used platinum layers, consisting of platinum nanoparticles, to coat the fibre; the particles do not block the surface pores.

The fibre’s pore diameter can effectively block the passage of bacteria, making it potentially useful as a microfiltration membrane in bioreactors for wastewater treatment and reuse.   

A bioreactor made using this fibre produced hydrogen by reducing protons and electrons generated from the oxidation of organic matter in wastewater. The reactor functioned for two months with a negligible loss of current density, indicating its stability.  

The fibre can also potentially convert industrial carbon dioxide waste into value-added products such as methane and acetate, explains Krishna Katuri, the lead author of the study.


  1. Katuri, K. P. et al. A microfiltration polymer-based hollow-fiber cathode as a promising advanced material for simultaneous recovery of energy and water. Adv. Mater. (2016)