Navigation Links
Tiny power generator runs on spit
Date:4/3/2014

Saliva-powered micro-sized microbial fuel cells can produce minute amounts of energy sufficient to run on-chip applications, according to an international team of engineers.

Bruce E. Logan, Evan Pugh Professor and Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering, Penn State, credited the idea to fellow researcher Justine E. Mink. "The idea was Justine's because she was thinking about sensors for such things as glucose monitoring for diabetics and she wondered if a mini microbial fuel cell could be used," Logan said. "There is a lot of organic stuff in saliva."

Microbial fuel cells create energy when bacteria break down organic material producing a charge that is transferred to the anode. Logan, who has studied microbial fuel cells for more than ten years, usually looks to wastewater as a source for both the organic material and the bacteria to create either electricity or hydrogen, but these tiny machines are a bit different.

"By producing nearly 1 microwatt in power, this saliva-powered, micro-sized MFC already generates enough power to be directly used as an energy harvester in microelectronic applications," the researchers report in a recent issue of Nature Publishing Group's Asia Materials.

The researchers believe that the emergence of ultra-low-power chip-level biomedical electronics, devices able to operate at sub-microwatt power outputs, is becoming a reality. One possible application would be a tiny ovulation predictor based on the conductivity of a woman's saliva, which changes five days before ovulation. The device would measure the conductivity of the saliva and then use the saliva for power to send the reading to a nearby cell phone.

Biomedical devices using micro-sized microbial fuel cells would be portable and have their energy source available anywhere. However, saliva does not have the type of bacteria necessary for the fuel cells, and manufacturers would need to inoculate the devices with bacteria from the natural environment.

In the past, the smallest fuel cells have been two-chambered, but this micro version uses a single chamber with a graphene- rather than platinum-coated carbon cloth anode and an air cathode. Air cathodes have not been used before because if oxygen can get to the bacteria, they can breath oxygen and do not produce electricity.

"We have previously avoided using air cathodes in these systems to avoid oxygen contamination with closely spaced electrodes," said Logan. "However, these micro cells operate at micron distances between the electrodes. We don't fully understand why, but bottom line, they worked."

The anode is actually composed of carbon nanomaterial graphene. Other microbial fuel cells used graphene oxide, but the researchers showed that pure multi-layered graphene can serve as a suitable anode material.

While the researchers tested this mini microbial fuel cell using acetate and human saliva, it can use any liquid with sufficient organic material.


'/>"/>

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Heart-powered pacemaker could one day eliminate battery-replacement surgery
2. MIT research: The power of being heard
3. Green Oakley Cluster to double OSC computing power
4. Powerful sequencing technology decodes DNA folding pattern
5. The power of broccoli, in a capsule
6. Folding light: Wrinkles and twists boost power from solar panels
7. New study discovers powerful function of single protein that controls neurotransmission
8. Powerful new approach to attack flu virus
9. UTMB researchers create powerful new method to analyze genetic data
10. Pitcher plant uses power of the rain to trap prey
11. NTUs new loo turns poo into power
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tiny power generator runs on spit
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology ... object recognition technologies, today announced the release of ... (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using up ... on a single computer. The new version uses ... improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel visited ... to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. ... the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see the ... well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each other or against ... (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... As part of the Stago EdVantage Virtual ... testing for DIC in order to illuminate this clinical problem for people unfamiliar with ... patients resulting in a high degree of morbidity and mortality. DIC is a confusing ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... EpiVax, Inc. ("EpiVax") has licensed its novel immune-modulating technology ... in autoimmune disease and allergy. Tregitopes, ... discovered in human immunoglobulin by EpiVax CEO ... Martin. Similar to intravenous immunoglobulin G, an autoimmune ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Leaders of Quorum Review IRB ... in multiple sessions at this week’s Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) 2017 ... in clinical research. , "We are excited to present subject matter expertise on topics ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... DENVER, COLORADO (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 ... ... Manufacturing. Awards recognized outstanding manufactures in 10 categories with over 30 nominees and ... Women in Manufacturing presented the new award and the event was hosted by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: