Wastewater treatment is identified as a factor expected to fuel the market growth of microbial fuel cells, in a new QY Research Report.
These simple little devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, and can do so much more than just produce our power. To start, you can run them using almost any carbon source. If it rots, it can be used as fuel. Not only that, but using different configurations, you can use them to desalinate water, generate hydrogen or methane, or even synthesize drugs for you.
Best of all, you can incorporate plants into your design and now you have a literal living solar panel. The plant captures carbon, deposits some into the soil for the microbes to eat and turn into power. No silicon required, and if you use food plants, you get a tasty snack while you’re at it.
This technology isn’t new, but development up until now has been fairly slow. The problem was that the materials to make better electrodes have only recently become readily available so cells were only capable of generating small amounts of power. Now with materials more available, as well as a better understanding of the microbes that are actually producing the power, microbial fuel cells are beginning to see vast improvements.
We’ve already begun to see these devices applied at an industrial scale. Sewage treatment plants have started to integrate microbial fuel cells into their waste processing facilities to generate some of the power to run the facility, cutting their energy costs. Soon, improved versions of these cells, built with the next generation of carbon materials, could be powering your home.
This signal was first written on 30 Sep 2016.