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Directory:Microorganisms in Energy Production

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The tobacco mosaic virus is a destructive beast infecting over a hundred different species of plants, including tomatoes. But it may have a weird eco benefit: Incorporated into lithium batteries, it can increase storage capacity ten times. (FastCompany; December 8, 2010)
The tobacco mosaic virus is a destructive beast infecting over a hundred different species of plants, including tomatoes. But it may have a weird eco benefit: Incorporated into lithium batteries, it can increase storage capacity ten times. (FastCompany; December 8, 2010)

We have quite a few bullets at PESWiki relevant to the subject of microorganisms being used in energy production, but we didn't get around to building a specific directory page to accumulate these stories until Feb. 12, 2010. Feel free to copy relevant bullets here as you encounter them.


Key Related Directories

Microorganisms Used in Electricity Production

See Directory:BioElectricity - separate directory page

Microbial Fuel Cells

See Directory:Microbial Fuel Cells - separate directory page

Microorganisms as Workers

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)

Microorganisms Used as a Substrate

  • 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)

Microorganisms Used in Fuel Production

  • Alt Fuels / Microorganisms > Used in Fuel Production >
    Bacteria could make car fuel from thin air - An enzyme produced by a common soil bacterium may help produce usable automobile fuel from a vehicle's own exhaust pipe, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California and the California Institute of Technology. When deprived of nitrogen and oxygen but supplied with carbon monoxide, vanadium nitrogenase produces two-to-three-atom carbon chains of ethane and propane.... (Natural News; November 26, 2010)
  • Waste to Energy > Sewage / Microorganisms >
    Human waste power plant goes online in the UK - Brotish Gas has gone online with a sewage-to-biomethane plant that converts the treated sewage of 14 million Thames Water customers into clean, green gas and is pumping that gas into people's homes. Biomethane is created when bacteria known as anaerobic digesters break down organic material such as human or animal waste, food and household waste to produce a thick, odorless waste plus methane. (GizMag; October 5, 2010)
  • Alt Fuel > Microbes >
    Plant Enzyme Can Convert Carbon Monoxide Into Propane, Paving the Way for Exhaust-Powered Cars - A microbe called Azotobacter vinelandii, which is found around the roots of various food plants, creates an enzyme called vanadium nitrogenase, which produces ammonia from nitrogen. In a study published in the journal Science, researchers took away the nitrogen and fed it carbon monoxide instead. The enzyme started making short carbon chains, two or three atoms long -- in other words, propane. (Popular Science; Aug. 6, 2010)
  • Waste to Energy > from Sewage / Microorganisms >
    Sustainable Sewage Treatment Plants with New Bacteria - Researchers at Delft University of Technology have discovered a type of bacteria called Anammox that can directly destroy the ammonium into nitrogen in sewage treatment processes. The process can also generate up to 24Wh to serve sustainable sewage treatment plants. (EarthAlternate; May 14, 2010)
  • Alt Fuels > Biofuels > Sources / Microorganisms >
    A step to artificial life: Manmade DNA powers cell - The Maryland inventors call it the world's first synthetic cell, although this initial step is more a re-creation of existing life — changing one simple type of bacterium into another — than a built-from-scratch kind. Expected applications include new fuels, better ways to clean polluted water. (Associated Press; May 20, 2010)
  • Hydrogen > Production / Microorganisms >
    Hydrogen Gas Production Doubled with New Super Bacterium - Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have studied a newly discovered bacterium, Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus, that produces twice as much hydrogen gas as the bacteria currently used. Its three advantages may be enough to make biological hydrogen gas production viable. (Alt Energy; May 4, 2010)
  • Microorganisms / Waste to Energy > from Sewage >
    Microbial Breakthrough to Make Diesel Directly From Non-Food Plant Waste - A group of scientists from both the public and private arenas has announced that they’ve successfully engineered a strain of the microbe E. coli to contain all the bits required to turn raw plant matter directly into diesel without any refinement or intermediary steps required; and may be able to directly produce environmentally-friendly surfactants, solvents and lubricants. (Gas2; Jan. 28, 2010)
  • BRI Energy - Technology for co-production of ethanol and electricity from organic wastes converts any carbonaceous material into fuel and other by-products without combustion. Gasification thermally decomposes organic material followed by fermentation with anaerobic bacteria to convert more than 90% of the feedstock.
  • Ecofasa turns waste to biodiesel using bacteria - The process doesn't yield that much actual fuel: just one liter of biodiesel from 10 kg of trash. The project is now in a development phase, but Ecofasa said that a commercially viable model could be ready in three to four years. (Patent) (Video Link" Spanish) (AutoBlog Green; Oct. 18, 2008)
  • 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. (PESWiki; Nov. 12, 2007)
  • Energy That Cleans Up - A fuel cell fueled by microbes in wastewater also cleans the water. (MIT Technology Review; Mar. 22, 2004)
  • Biofuels from Wood Chips - Three University of California campuses and West Biofuels LLC, will develop a prototype research reactor to make biofuels without food crops or microbial fermentation. It will use steam, sand and catalysts to efficiently convert forest, urban, and agricultural “cellulosic�? wastes into alcohol that can be used as a gasoline additive. (PhysOrg; Jun. 12, 2007)

Microorganisms as a Fuel Source

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