SUBJECT: Geobacter species
RE: Excerpted from Gifted Microbe Transforms Waste into Power
, by Robert S. Boyd (Knight Ridder newspapers)July 25,2004.
The U.S. Deparfnent of Energy, Pentagon, and National Science Foundation are funding research on the properties of the Geobacter class of bacteria:
--turn (highly radioactive) uranium waste into harmless muck--generate electricity from rust
--generate electricity from garbage
--generate enough electricity to run a toy car--perform other useful work. [...like charging batteries?]
Geobacter (Geo.) was discovered in 1987 in Potomac River mud in Washington DC by biologist Derek Lovely, Head of the Geo. Project based at Univ. of Massachusetts in Amherst. So far, 20 series of Geo. genus are recognized, plus 30 closely related.
Geo. likes vinegar so Geo. can be fed cheaply to propagate, doubling in 24 hours.
Geo. are harmless to the environment-they're already everywhere in almost any soil.
Geo. is also used to turn petroleum byproducts, e.g.,benzene (a carcinogen) to carbon dioxide.
Geo. makes electricity from rust. The microbe removes an electron from one type (valence) iron atoms, Fe-2 and converts it to Fe-30 ordinary rust. The electron travels along a wire, from a positive to a negative pole, like a miniature battery.
...Such power could be used in less developed countries to charge batteries, run a radio, TV, or PC, or light a small hut.
And Geo. generates electricity from garbage. Although only a tiny amount of electricity in the lab, it is more efficient than burning biomass, e.g., wood, cornstalks, trash.
Lovely claims Geo. can recover 80 to 90%o of the energy potential in iron, compared with an average of 30% of the energy stored in biomass by traditional means.
"We're efficient but slow, and trying to get fast."
The Defense Departnent is interested in using energy in iron-rich mud on the sea bottom to power submarine detectors and other sensors.
prepared by R. Beatty, CFRI: File, CFR40930http://www.sustainablenuclear.org/PADs/pad0407boyd.pdf
Microbes harvest electricity from waste organic matter
Every day plants store vast quantities of energy by fixing carbon dioxide into organic matter. Recent studies in our laboratory have demonstrated a strategy for converting this energy into electricity. We have discovered microorganisms that can oxidize organic matter to carbon dioxide and transfer the electrons derived from this oxidation to electrodes.
Got any rust, garbage, or mud out there?