Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Batteries

Bacteria Batteries In The Future?

When it comes to storing electricity from renewable sources, bacteria may have a bright future alongside lithium. This may be great news as demand grows for storing renewable electricity.

lithium batter pack shutterstock_215331841

Scientists report in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters a first-of-its-kind development toward that goal: a rechargeable battery driven by bacteria.

A discovery like this might be refreshing news following a recent Economist headline questioning whether lithium is now an equivalent to precious metals.

“Worldwide sales of lithium salts are only about $1 billion a year. But the element is a vital component of batteries that power everything from cars to smartphones, laptops and power tools. With demand for such high-density energy storage set to surge as vehicles become greener and electricity becomes cleaner, Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, calls lithium “the new gasoline”.”

Storage for renewable electricity

Solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources are gaining ground as nations work to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on petroleum. But sunlight and wind are not constant, so consumers can’t count on them 24-7.

Storing energy can make renewables more reliable, but current technologies such as lithium-ion batteries are limited by safety issues, high costs and other factors.

Sam D. Molenaar and his colleagues from Wageningen University and Wetsus (The Netherlands) wanted to come up with a less expensive, more sustainable solution.

As reported by ACS, the research team combined, for the first time, two separate microbial energy systems. One system used bacteria to form acetate from electricity, while the other one converted the produced acetate back into electricity. The researchers were then able to charge the battery over a 16-hour period and then discharge it over the next 8 hours. This timing was intentional, mimicking the day-night pattern typical for solar energy production.

Importantly, the team repeated this cycle 15 times in as many days. With further optimization, they say the energy density of the microbial battery could be competitive with conventional technologies. Someday it could help us store energy from local renewable sources safely and at a lower cost than current options.

We look forward to future reports on the progress of this exciting storage discovery.

Image: Battery pack closeup via Shutterstock


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Research

US researchers tease "white graphene" a little closer to commercial application in next-generation solar cells and other clean tech devices.

Clean Power

Renewable energy consumption is set to grow over the next few years, and according to a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, said...

Climate Change

The announcement this morning by President Obama of a revised target for US methane emissions is not just another gimmick to shackle the American...

Fossil Fuels

Originally published on DeSmogBlog. By Sharon Kelly For years, the shale industry has touted the economic benefits it can provide. An overflowing supply of domestic natural...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.