Microbial fuel cells

Microbial fuel cells

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Credit: VINCENT MONCORGE/LOOK AT SCIENCES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Microbial fuel cells. Researcher testing the electrical output of a microbial fuel cell. These fuel cells are comprised of a chamber filled with organic sewage and small electrodes. The bacteria in the sewage colonise the anode electrode and oxidise the organic compounds. The reaction allows the bacteria to transfer electrons directly to the anode, which then flow to a cathode electrode, generating electricity. One litre of wastewater is capable of producing 100 watts. This research is aimed at making sewage treatment plants self-sufficient in terms of the electricity they use. Photographed at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon, France.

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