Regular readers know that algae is a potential source of energy (and many other things), and in other small-life form news some researchers have found that bacteria can be used as a battery.
The system’s active ‘ingredients’ are a combination of tiny microbes and CO2. Placed under an electrical current – for example from an off-grid renewable power source such as wind or solar – the microbes convert the CO2 into methane. Professor Bruce Logan, head of the research team, explains that they work in a similar way to the natural process found in marshes.
He suggests that the initial carbon dioxide needed for the chemical reaction could even come from industrial sources: “CO2 is soluble in water, so the gas stream could be bubbled or transferred” in pipes from factories, for example. The ‘battery’ is designed to work as a closed loop, capturing and reusing the CO2 that’s released when the methane is burned.