Bacteria powered microbial fuel cells prove viable form of electricity generation

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Liberty (MO) - Scientists are discovering that microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology is a viable alternative to power generation in remote locations.  Powered only by whatever fuel is placed into the vessel, and the natural electrical generation processes by the bacteria, usable power for man can be harnessed, captured in batteries and utilized as necessary.

A representative from the Biodesign Institute's Center for Environmental Biotechnology named Marcus said, "We can use any kind of waste, such as sewage or pig manure, and the microbial fuel cell will generate electrical energy."  Whereas conventional fuel cells rely on hydrogen gas as a fuel source, MFCs utilize a form of water-based organic fuels.  These can be most anything that the bacteria can consume, including human waste.


 
 
TGDaily.com previously covered an article about this kind of technology being developed by students at MIT.  They were developing a 5-gallon bucket of "goo" that would provide enough power to recharge a cell phone in a matter of weeks.  While this seems like a potentially useless amount of electricity, a huge 500 gallon tank could be created that would allow much more power constantly, 24/7.  In addition, multiple 5-gallon buckets could be put in series to allow an increase of the output.

Author's opinion
While this kind of technology may not be able to produce enough electricity to power an entire home without a disproportionately large amount of "goo", meaning many square feet of someone's yard being employed toward power generation and storage, the fact that once it's created it can continue to generate electricity 24/7.  With a sufficient battery storage mechanism, the power generated throughout the night stored in batteries could provide a high percentage of a home's need.  This would drastically reduce electricity bills while simultaneously providing consumers with a way to dispose of part of their waste in an economically viable manner, one which actually generates money for them.