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Electricity from waste: Novel Geobacter strains can utilize energy-dense sources in microbial fuel cells

Technology:

Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology possesses many advantages over other fuel cell technologies especially in its low costs long lifetime sustainability and environmental safety. Geobacter sulfurreducens a non-pathogenic anaerobic bacteria is the leading candidate for use in MFC’s. It possesses significant growth conductivity and electricity generation characteristics that make for the most efficient MFC. Furthermore it has the ability to completely oxidize substrates to CO2 while utilizing an anode as the sole electron acceptor. In a recent breakthrough Dr. Lovely’s lab group has genetically engineered novel strains of Geobacter that can utilize oxygen-rich molecules (i.e. sugars and glycerol) to generate electricity. These energy-dense molecules are present in large quantities in the waste streams of sewage treatment biodiesel production and agricultural processes. This invention vastly expands the economic and environmental benefits of the MFC.

Benefits:

Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology possesses many advantages over other fuel cell technologies especially in its low costs long lifetime sustainability and environmental safety. Geobacter sulfurreducens a non-pathogenic anaerobic bacteria is the leading candidate for use in MFC’s. It possesses significant growth conductivity and electricity generation characteristics that make for the most efficient MFC. Furthermore it has the ability to completely oxidize substrates to CO2 while utilizing an anode as the sole electron acceptor. In a recent breakthrough Dr. Lovely’s lab group has genetically engineered novel strains of Geobacter that can utilize oxygen-rich molecules (i.e. sugars and glycerol) to generate electricity. These energy-dense molecules are present in large quantities in the waste streams of sewage treatment biodiesel production and agricultural processes. This invention vastly expands the economic and environmental benefits of the MFC.

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