Conventional alternative energy systems > energy and nutrition from algae

Electricity producing algae

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Koen1:
Not long ago I read a small article that described how Asian researchers had managed to get electrical energy directly from natural algae and bacteria.
The story as I recall it was that they had studied the various micro-organisms living in the soil and mud on the sea bottom, and they had found that certain bacteria and algae produce a negative electrical potential on the outside of their cellular membranes, which quickly dissipated into the surrounding water (which is of course full of ions to interact with the charge). The charges are a result of the organisms' internal metabolic processes and continue to be poduced as long as the organisms live. and since they are microbes, they tend to grow quite quickly so there is a near constant supply of tiny charges produced by them.
What these researchers did was to embed mats of conductive (metal) mesh in these top soil layers on the sea bottom, and connect them through wires to a storage unit. The conductive wires accumulated the charges given off by the surrounding microbes, and the combined charges could be stored as electrical charge.
As I recall they used this to charge the metal support of an oil rig, which is apparently a common way to minimise oxidation damage to the metal support struts of oil rigs. (the charges on the metal de-ionise the ions in the water that would otherwise have reacted with the metal itself and formed oxidation and such)

In any case, it seems simple enough to gather some of these microbes and grow them in a thin transparent plastic tube, with a conductive wire in it... The entire thing could be coiled up and the charges could easily be stored in a battery...
Obviously I say transparent because I am thinking of algae that will need light to grow... but if we find bacteria that do not need the light, it could well be done in an opaque container...

I am, unfortunately, unable to find that article at the moment, so I am sorry to say I cannot post it here.
If anyone knows this article or can find a link, posting it here would be much appreciated.

There are tons of articles on the production of hydrogen by algae, but it's a lot less easy to find proper information on micro-organisms producing electrical charge.

Any usefull information is certainly very welcome!  :)

hansvonlieven:
G'day Koen1,

Is this what you are looking for? You need to register with then before you get to the article. Registration is free.

At a glance | Bug juice: harvesting electricity with ...
Bug juice: harvesting electricity with microorganisms ... selective pressure on electricigens to produce electricity at high rates in natural environments. ...
http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/v4/n7/execsumm/nrmicro1442.html

Koen1:
Thanks Hans, that is exactly one of he articles I meant. Great stuff! :)

lancaIV:
From an "mad" german inventor:
http://v3.espacenet.com/textdes?DB=EPODOC&IDX=DE4328420&F=0=0&QPN=DE4328420

S
  dL

hansvonlieven:
G'day all,

An excellent article on the subject:

http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=1363&q=&page=all

Hope it helps

Hans von Lieven

EDIT:    here is another link:  http://www.bu.edu/research/spotlight/2007/biology/microbes/index.shtml

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