Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nano-engineering electrodes to give tiny generators a boost

Date:
September 20, 2012
Source:
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST
Summary:
Could our waste be part of the answer to humanity's energy problems? Some researchers think so, thanks to bacteria that chow down on everything from sewage to heavy metals and give off electricity as one of their own waste products. 

A 3D atomic force microscope topography image of metallic nanoparticles deposited on graphite.
Credit: Image courtesy of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST

Could our waste be part of the answer to humanity's energy problems? Some researchers think so, thanks to bacteria that chow down on everything from sewage to heavy metals and give off electricity as one of their own waste products.

Related Articles


But as with many great ideas, the devil is in the details. OIST's Biological Systems Unit is one of the research groups now working on making waste-fueled microbial fuel cells (MFCs) cheap and efficient enough for real-world applications.

One great challenge in achieving that goal is designing sturdy, cheap electrodes for MFCs that conduct electricity well, resist corrosion, and won't poison bacteria that cling to their surfaces. To this end, the Nanoparticles by Design Unit is working with the Biological Systems Unit to build and test new types of nanoparticle-studded electrodes. The idea is to coat a core of cheap material with a very thin layer of a more expensive, biocompatible metal, then stick the resulting nanoparticles onto the surface of a carbon electrode. In addition to harnessing the properties of the expensive metal at minimal cost, this will increase the surface area of the electrode so that it can host more electricity-generating bacteria.

Other researchers have found that nanoparticle-studded carbon electrodes increase the electricity output of MFCs up to 20-fold compared with plain carbon electrodes; Nanoparticles by Design Unit head Mukhles Sowwan hopes to increase this by experimenting with different sizes, compositions, and methods of pinning the nanoparticles to the electrode surface. Says Sowwan, "I believe that this innovative multidisciplinary approach in applying cutting-edge research could lead to the development of efficient microbial fuel cells."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. "Nano-engineering electrodes to give tiny generators a boost." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920082237.htm>.
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. (2012, September 20). Nano-engineering electrodes to give tiny generators a boost. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920082237.htm
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology - OIST. "Nano-engineering electrodes to give tiny generators a boost." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920082237.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MINI Shows Off Augmented Reality Glasses

MINI Shows Off Augmented Reality Glasses

AP (Apr. 24, 2015) — MINI showcased its new augmented reality glasses at the Shanghai Auto Show this week, which designers say will make roads safer and allow the driver to see through opaque parts of the car. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) — Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

'Safest Bike Ever' Devised by British Entrepreneur

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — A British inventor says his Babel bike is the safest bicycle ever produced. Crispin Sinclair - son of famous British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair - hopes the bike&apos;s safety cage, double seatbelt, and host of other measures will inspire non-cyclists to get in the saddle. Jim Drury went to see it in action. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

First Successful Aerial Refueling of a Drone

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 23, 2015) — The bat-wing U.S. Navy drone that became the first autonomous airplane to take off and land on an aircraft carrier accomplished yet another milestone on Wednesday, becoming the first unmanned aircraft to undergo aerial refueling. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins