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Directory:BioElectricity

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Index of biological systems, such as bacteria or viruses, that use electrical phenomenon that might be either tapped or mimicked. Also other energy-harvesting mechanisms that employ living biological entities in their processes.

Contents

Overviews

Bio Electrical Technologies

  • Mixing Fresh and Salt Water / Microorganisms > BioElectricity >
    Unique salt allows energy production to move inland - Production of energy from the difference between salt water and fresh water is most convenient near the oceans, but now, using an ammonium bicarbonate salt solution, Penn State researchers can combine bacterial degradation of waste water with energy extracted from the salt-water fresh-water gradient to produce power anywhere. (Energy-Daily; March 5, 2012)
  • Solar > Dye / BioElectricity > Algae >
    Solar Cells Made From Bioluminescent Jellyfish; Algaelectricity - Swedish researchers have devised a way to turn the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from bioluminescent jellyfish into solar cells. The GFP-powered cells work like dye-sensitized solar cells, but don't require expensive materials such as titanium dioxide. Also, a look at biophotovoltaic devices based on algae and photosynthetic bacteria. (New Scientist; Sept. 7, 2010)
  • BioElectricity / Lighting >
    Table Lamp Powered Completely by Tomatoes! - Cygalle Shapiro of Israel-based d-VISION has created an incredible LED lamp that is completely powered by real, edible tomatoes. Currently exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair, the design collects energy from a chemical reaction between tomato acids, zinc, and copper. (Inhabitat; Apr. 15, 2010)
  • BioElectricity >
    Stanford Scientists Harvest Electricity From Algae Photosynthesis - Scientists at Stanford have successfully collected energy from photosynthetic processes in algae in its natural state by tapping straight into currents of electrons generated at the cellular level via a high-tech gold electrode; with the only by-products being protons and oxygen. (Inhabitat; Apr. 15, 2010)
  • Fuel Cells >
    Dirt-Powered Bacteria Batteries - Overview article describes the general process whereby a battery can be made which runs on bacteria -- also called a microbial fuels cell or MFC. A quick look at recent developments as well as a peek into the future of bacteria-powered batteries. (Alt Energy News; Oct. 21, 2009)
  • Mud-Loving Bacteria Increases Fuel Cell Output by 800% - Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst evolved a new strain of the Geobacter microbe that increases power output per cell by 800%. The hairy mud-loving microbe uses its hairlike filaments–called pili–to produce an electric current from both mud and waste water. (Gas 2.0; Sept. 1, 2009)
  • Diatoms To Make Solar Cells - Engineers in Canada have discovered that instead of using silicon to make solar cells, they can get better results - three times as much electricity - by using diatoms, a type of algae in the oceans. Their hard shells are an ideal substrate, making a better, cheaper way to make energy. (EE Times; April 9, 2009)
  • Voltree demonstrates first wireless sensor network powered by trees - A three-day test of Voltree Power's climate sensor network, powered by energy harvested from living trees, not only proved Voltree’s technology but also demonstrated the successful integration with already existing “Remote Automated Weather Stations” network, transmitting air temperature, humidity, and diagnostic data utilizing the preexisting satellite infrastructure. (BusinessWire; June 25, 2009)
  • Eel-ectric Christmas Tree - Aquarium workers in Japan installed a conductive copper wire in an eel's tank, then ran the wire to a pine tree festooned with colored Christmas lights. Every time the eel brushes against the wire, a surge of electric power zaps the ornaments to life! (Inventor's Spot; Dec. 4, 2007)


  • Kidney Cells Make Implantable Power Source - New Scientist presents a round-up of patents related to green power technology, including an implantable power source made from stacks of kidney cells that could drive implanted devices like pacemakers, a chemical way to purifying hydrogen, and an organism that turns grass cuttings into ethanol. (New Scientist; Dec. 10, 2007) (See Slashdot)
  • Leftovers to Energy - UC Davis researchers are developing a strain of microbes that convert heavier waste such as food scraps or yard waste into biogas -- mostly methane and hydrogen -- that can be burned to generate electricity or compressed into liquid to power specialized vehicles. (MIT Technology Review; June 18, 2007)
  • Designer bug holds key to endless fuel - Craig Venter, the US Scientist who cracked the human genome, is poised to create the world's first man-made species, a synthetic microbe that could lead to an endless supply of hydrogen and biofuel as well as absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases. (The Age; June 10, 2007)
  • Pollution-eating power producing bacteria - "These bacteria can convert a large number of different food sources into electricity. The technology could be used to assist in the reclamation of wastewaters, thereby resulting in the removal of waste and generation of electricity." (WorldChanging June 8, 2005)
  • Cows show promise as power plants - A new study suggests that some of the microorganisms found in cow waste may provide a reliable source of electricity. (PhysOrg; Aug. 31, 2005)
  • Green Algae produces Hydrogen - The milk cows of the hydrogen age. Photons absorbed and converted into hydrogen product - is only about 10%. (Green-Trust; Jan. 2000)
  • Bioelectricity >Bacteria as Engine for Fuel Cells? - Some bacteria produce electrons in their metabolism of nutrients from what we would consider waste, such as sewage. Practical applications are yet a long ways off. (MIT Technology Review; May 24, 2006) (See Slashdot discussion.)
  • Microbes found to produce miniature electrical wires - Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered a tiny biological structure that is highly electrically conductive. This breakthrough helps describe how microorganisms can clean up groundwater and produce electricity from renewable resources. It may also have applications in the emerging field of nanotechnology. (EurekAlert; June 23, 2005)
  • Real-Time Methane Generation in Retired Oil Fields - Naturally-occurring bacteriological process may provide opportunity to convert finite oil resource to long-term generation of natural gas. Luca Technologies scientists provide proof of present-day conversion of oil to gas. (PESN; April 29, 2005)
  • Powerful Batteries That Assemble Themselves s - MIT researchers are developing low-cost manufacturing methods based on the rapid reproduction of viruses. Designer viruses coat themselves with inorganic materials, which are doped at regular intervals with gold to enhance their conductivity. Then the coated viruses line up on top of a polymer sheet that serves as the electrolyte. (MIT Technology Review; Sept. 28, 2006)
  • Power Up with Magnetic Bacteria - 16-year old Canadian student, Kartik Madiraju, has devised a method for harnessing electricity from the spinning motion of magnetic bacteria. Practical applications are yet a long way off. (Wired; May 12, 2006)
  • Waste Water Plus Bacteria Make Hydrogen Fuel - Bacteria that feed on vinegar and waste water zapped with a shot of electricity could produce a clean hydrogen fuel to power vehicles that now run on petroleum. These microbial fuel cells can turn almost any biodegradable organic material into zero-emission hydrogen gas fuel.
  • 'Wiring up' enzymes for producing hydrogen in fuel cells - Researchers in Colorado are reporting the first successful "wiring up", via nanotubes, of hydrogenase enzymes, which could serve as catalysts for inexpensive hydrogen production and oxidation in fuel cells. (PhysOrg; Nov. 19, 2007)
  • Virus-Built Electronics - A new way to fabricate nanomaterials from harmless viruses as building blocks could mean batteries and solar cells woven into clothing. The programmed viruses coat themselves with the materials and then, by aligning with other viruses, assemble into crystalline structures useful for making high-performance devices. (MIT Technology Review; Oct. 23, 2007)

Microbial Fuel Cells

See Directory:Microbial Fuel Cells - separate page

Image:Microbial fuel cell bucket 95x95.jpg Image:BruceLogan MahaMehanna three-chambered microbial desalination cells 95x95.jpg Image:Microbial fuel cell Logan 95x95.jpg Image:MicrobialFuelCell PennState95x95.jpg Image:Bacteria fuel cell Washington U StLouis 95x95.jpg

Biological Motor Technologies

  • BioElectricity >
    Hybrid biological machines powered by bacteria - Scientists at the U.S. DOE Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University have produced tiny microgears with slanted spokes that get turned as the common aerobic bacteria Bacillus subtilis swim by them. The reaction is controlled by the addition/subtraction of oxygen. (GizMag; Dec. 21, 2009)

Enzymes

  • Batteries > BioElectricity > Microorganisms >
    Nature's billion-year-old battery - New research at Concordia University is bringing us one step closer to clean energy. It is possible to extend the length of time a battery-like enzyme can store energy from seconds to hours. (PhysOrg; April 18, 2012)

Research and Development

  • BioElectricity >
    Discovery that trees give off ELECTRICITY creates a buzz - Levels of charged ions twice as high in wooded areas; Deep-rooted trees such as eucalyptus even higher; Effect created by trees 'channelling' radiocative radon gas from soil; Not thought to be harmful to health on its own (DailyMail; March 23, 2012)
  • BioElectricity >
    Potato Power - Yissum Introduces Potato Batteries for Use in the Developing World - Researchers at the Hebrew University discovered that the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity through means readily available in the developing world. This cheap, easy to use green power source could substantially improve the quality of life of 1.6 billion people, currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure. (Business Wire; June 17, 2010)
  • BioElectricity >
    Electrical circuit runs entirely off power in trees - You've heard about flower power. What about tree power? It turns out that it's there, in small but measurable quantities. There's enough power in trees for University of Washington researchers to run an electronic circuit, according to results to be published in a peer reviewed journal. (PhysOrg; September 8, 2009)
  • Models of Eel Cells Suggest Electrifying Possibilities - Researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) believe it is possible to build artificial cells replicating the electrical behavior of electric eel cells. In fact, such artificial cells could deliver better performance — as much as 40% more energy than real eel cells, a computer model suggests. (Slashdot) (EurekaAlert!; Oct. 5, 2008)

See also

GENERAL NATURE

ENERGY IN NATURE

MAN AND NATURE

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