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Scientists Use Poop to Harvest Electricity

09.19.13 Andy Cush

Poop power is finally upon us, as researchers from Stanford University have developed a battery that gathers electricity from the bacteria that grows on feces. It’s yet enough to power the world–the device can generate just 30 percent of the potential energy found in shit–but according to its developers, it could at least help power sewage treatment plants. The fuel is right there, after all.

The Verge explains how the team used “exoelectrogenic microbes” -small organisms that generate electricity as they eat–to make the battery work:

As the microbes consume organic material, excess electrons are deposited onto [carbon] filaments and then transmitted across to the battery’s positive node, made of silver oxide. The silver oxide converts into silver as more electrons gather, storing potential energy along the way. It takes about a day for the node to completely fill up and turn to silver, at which point it is removed from the battery and re-oxidized, releasing its stored electrons.

Sounds like it’s time to start saving up the brown gold. That stuff could be worth something someday!

(Photo: fauxto_digit/Flickr)