Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stanford researchers harvest electricity from algae, unkempt pools become gold mines

By Joseph L. Flatley posted Apr 15th 2010 12:49PM

While we've seen plenty of stabs at viable green energy, from underwater turbines to the Bloom Box, we're always up for another. Running along the same lines as Uppsala University's algae-based batteries, researchers at Stanford are generating electrical current by tapping into the electron activity of individual algae cells. The team designed a gold electrode that can be pushed through a cell membrane, which then seals around it. The cell, still alive, does what it does best (photosynthesis), at which point scientists harvest chemical energy in the form of electrons. According to Stanford University News, this results in "electricity production that doesn't release carbon into the atmosphere. The only byproducts of photosynthesis are protons and oxygen." Of course, the team has a long way to go before this is economically feasible, but who knows? Maybe there's an algae-powered OPhone in your future...

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