Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Microbial Power Plants

Technology Review put out a nifty article last week on creating fuel cells out of bacteria. Emily Singer interviewed bioengineer Tim Gardner, who has elaborate plans for study and experimentation. Bacteria can use a wide range of substances as fuel, and some bacteria already produce electrons from what they digest. The trick is going to be to get the industrious little bugs to produce enough power to be really useful, which is where all the experimentation comes in. There are some pretty cool applications, if they can up the amperage enough. The article mentions things like houses powered by sewage, and pacemakers that run on blood sugar instead of batteries. What if all the talk about hydrogen fuel cells someday becomes superfluous, because they've engineered bacteria that you only need to feed waste in order to reap a harvest of energy? We do live in amazing times, don't we?

HT: Futurismic

1 comment:

  1. Interesting website with a lot of resources and detailed explanations.