‘Moo’-bile Fuel Cells … no ‘Bull’

Posted By on September 20, 2005

Cow PattyThe Agricultural and Biological Engineering department at Ohio State University has been experimenting with ‘waste’ energy research using bovine ‘juiced’ fuel cells. According to Ann Christy, an Associate Professor at OSU, the bacteria in manure can be harnessed to produce electrical energy.

In the bovine gastric juice, the organisms in one half liter can generate 600mV of electricity, but it is not easy to ‘plug’ into a cows belly. The next best thing would be to use the fecal matter. Researchers were able to ‘pack’ a fuel cell with this material and continuously supply electrical power for over 30days without a drop in voltage.

Ann ChristyStudents at the OSU agricultural and biological engineering school were quick to admit that the size of the fuel cell and amount of ‘juice’ (electrical energy) produced was low in comparison to other chemical processes, but that it is possible to produce electricity from cow manure. “Although it’s too early to tell if this kind of fuel cell can produce significantly more electricity,” said Christy, “the fact that the [stomach] fluid worked in our study means that there are additional electricity-producing microbes that we have yet to identify.”

See Ohio State University Research News.

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.