Bioremediation of Mixed Hazardous Wastes


Multi-step process which uses primarily anaerobic and anoxic natural microorganisms to remove toxic organic waste constituents from wastewaters, groundwaters and slurry.

How It Works:

Bioremediation is a clean-up technology that offers much promise through the use of microorganisms as "engines" for driving the chemical reactions required for hazardous waste degradation. The technology is termed "biomimetic" because its design mimics the way in which Nature organizes biological degradation in steps that proceed from a relatively high oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) to a relatively lower ORP. By providing a sequence of anaerobic environments of successively lower ORP, this bioprocess can achieve essentially complete biodegradation of a toxic mixture of fuel compounds and chlorinated solvents. The technique has been proven effective for treatment of aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g., benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes and phenols) and halogenated hydrocarbons (e.g., tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene and 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane).

Potential Competitive Advantages:

  1. Versatile -- many alternative methods focus on one particular pollutant; our proprietary multi-step process is designed to treat real-world waste stream contaminants.
  2. Robust -- pH control and metals removal in the upstream process step(s) provide protection for the more easily inhibited but crucial methanogenic step.
  3. Energy efficient -- conversions of the breakdown products of toxic organics to methane can be used to reduce treatment energy demands. Additionally, anaerobic and anoxic process steps do not require energy intensive aeration as with aerobic systems; maintenance costs associated with an aerobic system can be prohibitively high.
  4. Environment friendly -- this process does not release toxic volatile organic compounds to the environment, as can occur with conventional aerobic processes. 5) Minimal waste sludge disposal -- biomass production is much less with anaerobic microorganisms compared to their aerobic counterparts. 6) Unique -- only our process can remove benzene and chlorinated alkanes under denitrifying conditions.

Examples of Applications and Markets:

Treatment of groundwater from hazardous-waste sites and wastewater from semiconductor, munitions and chemical processing plants.


During the Phase II project, YES confirmed that their multi-stage process is capable of anaerobic degradation of unsaturated, saturated, aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons. A denitrifying culture was deposited in the American Type Culture Collection as ATCC 55712. Suspended growth studies were conducted to determine the intrinsic kinetic rates and the stoichiometries of the chemical reactions that the cultures biocatalyze; the parameters thus generated were used to design and implement a proof-of-concept demonstration of a novel biomimetic process for bioremediation of a simulated hazardous-waste stream.

Commercial Interest:

YES is seeking a partner to develop the commercial application of this process. A royalty-free license will be executed for use of the process on a first test site, with investment credit allowed against royalties for use of the process at additional sites.


Literature Available:

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