Bacteria Could Power Next Generation of Clean Batteries

bacteria battery

Scientists and environmentalists have been talking about clean energy for a long time, but what if it’s dirt and grime that could create the next generation of clean batteries? The scientific community has known for quite a while that a certain type of marine bacteria creates electrical currents in the presence of heavy metals. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details how these bacteria have inspired a new type of clean bio-battery.┬áResearchers created an artificial version of the marine bacteria using the proteins that the bacteria utilize in creating an electric current.

marine bacteria bio-battery


The proteins help to shuttle electrons between an electron donor and an iron-containing mineral.┬áThe study showed that bacteria lying on the surface of a metal or mineral could easily conduct electricity through their membranes.┬áThis knowledge could pave the way for future bio-batteries that use the same proteins – or it could simply serve as a jumping-off point to find bacteria that perform the same function even more efficiently. Bacteria-based bio-batteries could be especially useful in low-sunlight situations where solar power is not an option, such as in the depths of the ocean.

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See more in Energy & Power or under Science. March, 2013.