Bacteria convert methane into electricity

Generating electricity and at the same time purifying the environment from greenhouse gases: This should be possible with bacteria, microbiologists at Radboud University believe.

Researchers have succeeded in getting methane-eating bacteria that generate electricity in the laboratory. These bacteria, methanopridins, are found simply in nature. In fresh water, such as ditches and lakes. They’ve been studying it for a few years now because it uses very interesting transformations. Now they were curious: What can we do with these bacteria?

They made a kind of biological battery in which bacteria are fed methane. The animal produces electrons that can be collected and then converted into electricity. The ultimate idea is that this system can replace part of the wastewater treatment process. Now gases such as methane – which is released during purification – are burned to generate electricity. This works but it’s less than half the gas. Hopefully Methanoperedens can do this better soon.

In this audio you can hear microbiologists Cornelia Welty and Helen Opotter of Radboud University. Read more here: Bacteria can generate electricity from methane

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Megan Vasquez

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