Fuel Cells

Taming Electricigens

How electricity-generating microbes can keep going, and going - faster


Electricigens, the microbes that can completely oxidize organic compounds to carbon dioxide and then transfer the electrons derived from that oxidation onto the anode of a microbial fuel cell, are the Energizer Bunnies of the microbe world. They gain energy to support their growth and metabolism from the electron transfer to anodes, resulting in low-maintenance, self-sustaining fuel cells that can run indefinitely. But for many proposed applications of microbial fuel cells, the rate at which electricigens convert organic matter to electricity will need to be substantially increased.

Derek Lovley is a distinguished university professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Information on his group's geobacter...

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