March 29, 2020
Bacteria

Bacteria will produce electricity without pollution: Another source of clean energy

This method of generating renewable energy is much better than solar and wind energy as it can also be used indoors.

Researchers have developed a new device that uses electricity generated by natural bacteria to produce electricity from moisture in the air. Scientists have described it as another means of renewable energy that can also generate electricity indoors, unlike solar and wind power.

The device described in the journal Nature is called an ‘air-gen’ or air-powered generator. This device is made by extremely small electrically conductive protein wires made by microbe Geobacter. The microbe Geobacter was discovered 30 years ago in the marshes of the Potomac River in America.

According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts, USA, Air-Gen connects the electrodes to small protein wires in such a way that it generates electric current from the water vapour naturally present in the atmosphere. Jun Yao, co-author of this study, pointed out that Air-gen can generate 24 hours of clean energy. This device is renewable, low cost and the great thing is that it does not cause any kind of pollution. Researchers reported that the device can also generate electricity in extremely low humidity areas such as the Sahara Desert. Derek Lovely, the study’s second co-author, said, “This method of generating renewable energy is far superior to solar and wind energy, as it can also be used indoors.”

The researchers reported that the air-gen device requires a thin film of small protein strands, less than 10 micrometres thick and absorbs water vapour. The lower end of this film rests on an electrode, while an electrode rests on the upper end of this film. Researchers reported that the ability of electric current in these protein wires and the special texture of its surface create favourable conditions for generating electric current between two electrodes.

Scientists hope that this device can be used to power small electronics. The researchers said that the ultimate goal of the research is to develop this system on a large scale. He said that as an example, it is being thought that this technology should be incorporated into the wall paint, so that 24 hours of electricity can be easily available for the whole house or a generator powered by this technology can also be developed.

Researchers have recently developed a genetic version of a microorganism to produce large-scale protein strands more quickly and cheaply. Reported that they have also converted E. coli wire into a protein nanowire factory.

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