Harvesting Bacterial Metabolism into usable Energy

  1. Technology: Harvesting Bacteria Metabolism. Seokheun Choi, a Binghamton University engineer, developed an inexpensive, bacteria-powered battery made from paper.  The battery generates power from microbial respiration, delivering enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor with nothing more than a drop of bacteria-containing liquid. “Dirty water has a lot of organic matter,” Choi says. “Any type of organic material can be the source of bacteria for the bacterial metabolism.” The paper battery uses an air-breathing cathode created with nickel sprayed onto one side. The anode is screen printed with carbon paints, creating a hydrophilic zone with wax boundaries.
  1. Sustainable issue: Harvesting energy as a by-product from processes that are naturally taking place reduces the need for resource heavy, unsustainable, energy, like coal and oil. Similarly creating simple mono material solutions for ‘carring’ energy and ‘translating’ it into a useable format provides less material and energy fabrication upfront and a bio-degradable end product reducing end-of-life waste. The simple design of paper as the carring mechanism provides a sustainable solution.
  2. Technology stakeholders:

-University for research and prototype

-NGO for funding

-Government agencies for regulation

-Private Corporations to implement new battery technology into product design and selling mechanism.

  1. Process for implementation:

-Gain funding for prototype, create prototype

-Gain funding for production

-Create a demand through outreach and marketing

-Produce technology, distribute technology

Source: http://discovere.binghamton.edu/features/paper-6113.html / full article at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211285515002359

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