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.

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 October 21, 2014 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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