Researchers are on the aim of improving bio-batteries and weirdly enough they have just discovered a bacteria found in human and animal poo that can provide electrical charges. The experiment is taking place at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and here’s how it works…
Faeces contain a bacteria which breathe minerals of iron and an electrical charge is released as a side effect as it breathes.
“These bacteria can generate electricity in the right environment. This is an exciting advance in our understanding of how some bacterial species move electrons from the inside to the outside of a cell and helps us understand their behaviour as robust electron transfer modules,” says Julea Butt, leading researcher from the department of chemistry and biology at the university.
And this isn’t the first time that natural waste has been used to charge devices. The Bristol Robotics Laboratory has discovered that urine can power up devices too, with the use of microbial fuel cells (or MFCs). They’ve already been successful in charging a smartphone! The MFCs are energy converters that turn organic matter directly into electricity by utilising the metabolism of live micro-organisms. There is no information of how much urine was used in the process, but it was enough to send text messages, browse the internet and make a short phone call.
So using natural waste to power up our everyday gadgets is definitely as ‘eco friendly’ as it gets!