Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















BIO FUEL
Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity
by Staff Writers
University Park PA (SPX) May 19, 2017


Transmission electron microscopy image from Thomas Wood's laboratory of their engineered M. acetivorans strain capturing methane. Credit Thomas Wood, Penn State

Transporting methane from gas wellheads to market provides multiple opportunities for this greenhouse gas to leak into the atmosphere. Now, an international team of researchers has taken the first step in converting methane directly to electricity using bacteria, in a way that could be done near the drilling sites.

"Currently, we have to ship methane via pipelines," said Thomas K. Wood, holder of the biotechnology endowed chair and professor of chemical engineering, Penn State. "When you ship methane, you release a greenhouse gas. We can't eliminate all the leakage, but we could cut it in half if we didn't ship it via pipe long distances."

The researchers' goal is to use microbial fuel cells to convert methane into electricity near the wellheads, eliminating long-distance transport. That goal is still far in the future, but they now have created a bacteria-powered fuel cell that can convert the methane into small amounts of electricity.

"People have tried for decades to directly convert methane," said Wood. "But they haven't been able to do it with microbial fuel cells. We've engineered a strain of bacteria that can."

Microbial fuel cells convert chemical energy to electrical energy using microorganisms. They can run on most organic material, including wastewater, acetate and brewing waste. Methane, however, causes some problems for microbial fuel cells because, while there are bacteria that consume methane, they live in the depths of the ocean and are not currently culturable in the laboratory.

"We know of a bacterium that can produce an energy enzyme that grabs methane," said Wood. "We can't grow them in captivity, but we looked at the DNA and found something from the bottom of the Black Sea and synthesized it."

The researchers actually created a consortium of bacteria that produces electricity because each bacterium does its portion of the job. Using synthetic biological approaches, including DNA cloning, the researchers created a bacterium like those in the depths of the Black Sea, but one they can grow in the laboratory. This bacterium uses methane and produces acetate, electrons and the energy enzyme that grabs electrons.

The researchers also added a mixture of bacteria found in sludge from an anaerobic digester - the last step in waste treatment. This sludge contains bacteria that produce compounds that can transport electrons to an electrode, but these bacteria needed to be acclimated to methane to survive in the fuel cell. They report the results of their work today (May 17) in Nature Communications.

"We need electron shuttles in this process," said Wood. "Bacteria in sludge act as those shuttles."

Once electrons reach an electrode, the flow of electrons produces electricity. To increase the amount of electricity produced, the researchers used a naturally occurring bacterial genus - Geobacter, which consumes the acetate created by the synthetic bacteria that captures methane to produce electrons.

To show that an electron shuttle was necessary, the researchers ran the fuel cell with only the synthetic bacteria and Geobacter. The fuel cell produced no electricity. They added humic acids - a non-living electron shuttle - and the fuel cells worked. Bacteria from the sludge are better shuttles than humic acids because they are self-sustaining. The researchers have filed provisional patents on this process.

"This process makes a lot of electricity for a microbial fuel cell," said Wood. "However, at this point that amount is 1,000 times less than the electricity produced by a methanol fuel cell."

BIO FUEL
Genome sequence of fuel-producing alga announced
College Station TX (SPX) May 15, 2017
The genome of the fuel-producing green microalga Botryococcus braunii has been sequenced by a team of researchers led by a group at Texas A and M AgriLife Research. The report, in Genome Announcements, comes after almost seven years of research, according to Dr. Tim Devarenne, AgriLife Research biochemist and principal investigator in College Station. In addition to sequencing the genome, ... read more

Related Links
Penn State
Bio Fuel Technology and Application News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

BIO FUEL
NRL Tests Autonomous 'Soaring with Solar' Concept

EU SmartFlex project finishes reference solar facade

InnoEnergy-backed Solaris Offgrid raises 1M Euro to tackle global electricity poverty

Beaumont Solar Announces the Beaumont "Big C" Services Unit to Solar Industry

BIO FUEL
Balanced U.S. budget depends on part on sale of strategic oil reserves

Holiday demand, high oil prices working against drivers

U.S. gasoline needs lower on improved fuel economy

OPEC-member Kuwait says oil prices won't spike

BIO FUEL
Canada lays out plan for 2018 carbon tax and cap and trade

India gets bonds to help tackle climate change

Drought affects 1.4 million in Angola: UNICEF

UN climate talks wrap up under threat of US exodus

BIO FUEL
New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

Stretching the limits of elastic conductors

How scientists turned a flag into a loudspeaker

Better cathode materials for lithium-sulphur-batteries

BIO FUEL
Triple play boosting value of renewable fuel could tip market in favor of biomass

Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs

Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity

A full life cycle assessment of second-generation biofuels

BIO FUEL
China scrambles to tame bike chaos

Hong Kong police arrest 21 Uber drivers in sting

China's JAC says electric car tie-up with VW approved

Singapore car 'vending machine' dispenses with tradition

BIO FUEL
Why did hunter-gatherers first begin farming?

Plants call 911 to help their neighbors

Novel use of satnav saves precious water

Chinese exporting adulterated fish to Brazil: police

BIO FUEL
HPC4MfG paper manufacturing project yields first results

Unfolding the folding mechanism of ladybug wings

Swirling swarms of bacteria offer insights on turbulence

Scientists develop real-time technique for studying ionic liquids at electrode interfaces




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement