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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

06 Apr 2009 05:04:24

Bacteria could help store renewable electricity

Bacteria could help store renewable electricity
Bacteria could be used in devices to store electricity in order to make renewable energy sources more consistent.

Both wind and solar power provide intermittent energy and one of the challenges facing the renewable industry is ensuring a constant supply of electricity.

In response, scientists at Pennsylvania State University have devised a energy storage system using bacteria which can convert electricity into methane.

When stimulated with electricity, a bacteria mix made up predominantly of Methanobacterium palustre uses carbon dioxide to create methane.

The gas can then be stored to generate energy at other times.

According to the New Scientist, 80 percent of the energy put into the system can be extracted.

Tom Curtis of the Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability at Newcastle University said the system is cheap, since no noble metals are used.

Other proposals for storing energy include using surplus electricity to compress air or pump water which can then be released through turbines.



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