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Electricity Producing Bacterial Fuel Cells!

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posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 02:26 AM
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I just ran into this interesting article about an experiment by the Arizona State University to produce fuel cells using bacteria. Unlike the other experimental bacterial fuel cells that use hydrogen, this one uses all kinds of waste products to produce electricity directly.


SILICON DESERT: Experiment turns waste into power

(Tribune, The (Mesa, AZ) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Mar. 27--Microorganisms 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair could help power America's energy future, a professor at Arizona State University says.

Bruce Rittmann, director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the ASU Biodesign Institute, is experimenting with microbial fuel cells -- devices that use bacteria to produce electricity.

Weird though it may sound, some bacteria that feed on organic waste such as sewage, feedlot manure, algae or crop waste, release electrons in the process, creating an electric current, he said.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


The research is being funded partly by NASA, who obviously sees the potential for use in manned missions to Mars.

The article also mentions that the US Department of energy estimates that converting domestic wastes into energy could save up to 2 million barrels of oil per year and while for feedlot manure it could reach up to 6 million barrels.

Related Internet Links:
Science@NASA - Waste Not
Space.com - Harnessing the power of poop
News.com - Bacteria could power tiny robots




posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 02:51 AM
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just an observation, but perhaps you may want to re-word the thread title there, as when i saw it, i thought it meant bacteria had been created by electricity and immediately thought uh oh, thats really gonna have the intelligent design vs evolutionists at each others throats.


anyway, anything produced that helps to stop reliance on oil, uses natural resources and is better for the environment is always a good thing



posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 03:41 AM
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Originally posted by Beachcoma

The article also mentions that the US Department of energy estimates that converting domestic wastes into energy could save up to 2 million barrels of oil per year and while for feedlot manure it could reach up to 6 million barrels.


Two million barrels per oil will not even cover one days worth of oil consumption in the US but it's still a neat technology. Perhaps it can at least provide the waste treatment facilities with an independent supply of electricity.



posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 08:30 AM
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Right now the technology is still in development. Give it time. Perhaps they can also bio-engineer the bacteria to be more efficient, like they've done with certain species of algae in the production of hydrogen.

But the greatest benefit of all would be in the development of life-support systems for spacecraft.



Originally posted by justyc
just an observation, but perhaps you may want to re-word the thread title there, as when i saw it, i thought it meant bacteria had been created by electricity and immediately thought uh oh, thats really gonna have the intelligent design vs evolutionists at each others throats.



I can't, my window to edit is over. Perhaps "Direct Current Fuel Cell Powered by Poop-eating Bacteria" would be more accurate?

[edit on 29-3-2006 by Beachcoma]



posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 08:40 AM
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Look 75% of ALL electricity produced is lost in transmittion from generator to end user. If this can be used on a single location or even device level it could save significant energy.

Nice find



posted on Mar, 29 2006 @ 08:45 AM
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Imagine using your home's septic tanks to supplement your electricity consumption. And if you don't use as much electricity as the septic tank produces, you can sell the excess power back to the grid!



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