Voltage from the Bottom of the Sea: Ooze-dwelling microbes can power electronics | Science News

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Voltage from the Bottom of the Sea: Ooze-dwelling microbes can power electronics

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2:43pm, July 10, 2002

Some types of bacteria living in seafloor mud can generate enough electricity to power small electronic devices, field tests have shown. The months-long trials may herald a new generation of fuel cells that can supply reliable low-voltage power to future networks of ocean-bottom sensors in long-lived instruments for which changing batteries would be impractical, if not impossible.

Many microbes live in the sediments that accumulate at the bottom of the ocean, says Leonard M. Tender, a chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. As these bacteria consume the ooze's organic carbon, which comes primarily from the decayed remains of marine organisms, they produce

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