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Pilus creates synthetic energy process patterned after that of living cells

As a former high school and college anatomy and physiology teacher, Jason Barkeloo was fascinated by the possibility of synthetically recreating the energy production process within living cells.

His company, Pilus Energy, based in Cincinnati, has found a way to create this process in a "reactor" that can be used to harness energy from organic matter using bacteria to create DC current. In a partnership with Dan Hassett at the University of Cincinnati, the two have pioneered this new green energy that can take organic waste from farms, plant pulps and sewage and make it into electricity.

"We're unlocking another grid," says Barkeloo. "We're providing a de-centralized energy solution that is untapped."

Pilot programs using Pilus' new Pilus Cell "reactor" are taking place at Pacific Gas & Electric in Northern California and at a large agri-business operation, he says. More pilots are in the planning phases as well.

"Our solution is harnessing our genetically engineered bacteria in a microbial fuel cell reactor and harvesting the direct current and hydrogen gas from their metabolism of organic molecules like those found in sewage, farm wastes, river water and plant pulps," says Barkeloo.

Pilus was one of a select group of start-up companies chosen to present their ideas and products at Launch: Silicon Valley 2010 international launch event last June. It was the only Midwest company chosen from among roughly 400 applicants from around the world.

In the next year, Barkeloo says he plans on adding more employees to the four full-time and six part-time consultants he now has, although he declined to project future sales or revenue.

Source: Jason Barkeloo, Pilus Energy
Writer: Val Prevish

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