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Bacteria used to power fuel cell

Tempe, Ariz. -- U.S. scientists have found a way to use bacteria to make electricity.

Bacteria used to power fuel cellGet original file (13KB)

The research, conducted at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, may lead to commercialization of microbial fuel cell technology, the university said Thursday in a release.

The report, published in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering, said the microbial fuel cell can handle a variety of water-based organic fuels. "We can use any kind of waste, such as sewage or pig manure, and the microbial fuel cell will generate electrical energy," lead author Andrew Kato Marcus said.

Bruce Rittman, director of the Biodesign Institute, said the researchers see biomass simply as energy stored in the wrong place.

"We can take this waste, keeping it in its normal liquid form, but allowing the bacteria to convert the energy value to our society's most useful form, electricity," Rittman said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.