Microbial fuel cell powering a toy car

Microbial fuel cell powering a toy car

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This image is part of the feature Batteries From Bugs

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Microbial fuel cell research. Researcher looking at a toy car powered by a microbial fuel cell. The fuel cell is comprised of several beakers of river sediment topped with water. Each beaker contains a graphite anode buried in the sediment, and a graphite cathode suspended in the water. The thick red and black wires connected to each electrode are joined together by a resistor (not seen). Anaerobic bacteria in the sediment, such as Geobacter species, colonise the anode and oxidise the organic matter in the sediment. Geobacter is able to directly transfer electrons from the organic matter to the anode during oxidation. The electrons flow to the cathode, generating electricity. Photographed in 2007 at the University of Massachusetts, USA.

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