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Stanford-Penn State scientists use microbes to make 'clean' methane
Date:7/24/2012

cies that compete with methanogens for carbon dioxide, which the bacteria use to make acetate an important ingredient in vinegar, textiles and a variety of industrial chemicals.

"There might be organisms that are perfect for making acetate or methane but haven't been identified yet," Spormann said. "We need to tap into the unknown, novel organisms that are out there."

At Penn State, Logan's lab is designing and testing advanced cathode technologies that will encourage the growth of methanogens and maximize methane production. The Penn State team is also studying new materials for electrodes, including a carbon-mesh fabric that could eliminate the need for platinum and other precious metal catalysts.

"Many of these materials have only been studied in bacterial systems but not in communities with methanogens or other archaea," Logan said. "Our ultimate goal is to create a cost-effective system that reliably and robustly produces methane from clean electrical energy. It's high-risk, high-reward research, but new approaches are needed for energy storage and for making useful organic molecules without fossil fuels."


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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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