Running fuel cells on bacteria
Researchers in Norway have succeeded in getting bacteria to power a fuel cell. The "fuel" used is wastewater, and the products of the process are purified water droplets and electricity.The biological fuel cell is powered by entirely natural processes – with the help of living microorganisms.
"In simple terms, this type of fuel cell works because the bacteria consume the waste materials found in the water", explains SINTEF researcher Luis Cesar Colmenares, who is running the project together with his colleague Roman Netzer. "As they eat, the bacteria produce electrons and protons. The voltage that arises between these particles generates energy that we can exploit. Since the waste in the wastewater (organic material) is consumed and thus removed, the water itself becomes purified", he says.
Image credit: sintef.no, laboratories