Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Alternative energy sources

  1. Mar 30, 2004 #1
    As many may know, the bacteria Rhodoferax ferrireducens has the ability to take various types of sugar and "convert" it into electricity. Many of you also know that gas prices have sky rocketed. Where am I getting here?

    I plan on doing a experiment using R. ferrireducens and ethanol from biomass. My question to you is: Does anybody have any good ideas or knowledge they would like to pass onto me (and the general public here @ PF)?

    Paden Roder
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2004 #2
    Do you really think that these bacteria can make electricity fast enough and in great enough quantity to power a car? And do you have some sort of system designed to harvest the electricity from these bacteria? You'd likely have better luck filling your gas tank with used frying oil from local fast food restaurants to save yourself money.
     
  4. Mar 31, 2004 #3
    If you think about it, you could have the bacteria working for 12 hours while you sleep to charge the batteries! Most people don't use their cars for more than 2 hours a day, so it would be feasible in this regard.

    If a square meter of this bacteria energy source produces more electricity than say solar with less resources, then its all good don't you think?
     
  5. Mar 31, 2004 #4

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Interesting idea, but you should know that these bacteria should be metabolically active in order to produce electrons. You would require an ingenious system of keeping the bacteria at the appropriate temperature, with the right nutritions and at the right concentration. Ofcourse this all can be worked out with a little engineering.

    I think that wasteofo2 brings up an interesting question. How much energy do you think you'd require to run a car at 30 miles/hour? You might find out on the net what this value is. I'd then try to translate it to the bacteria, measure how much current they can produce and see if that is scalable :)

    I don't understand this, what are you planning to do?
     
  6. Mar 31, 2004 #5

    iansmith

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What are you going to use as a biomass and what is going to ferment it? You will need to sterilize your ethanol and other nutriment that you will use so the potential contaminant will not disrupted your cultute

    also you will need a chemostat to continuously grow your bacteria.
    This is the basic concept of chemostats culture
    http://www.bact.wisc.edu/Bact303/GrowthbacterialPopulations
    http://www.bio.vu.nl/thb/deb/deblab/chain/model.html
    http://www.qub.ac.uk/fungi/Level1/mcb106/lect5/cont.html
    Here a setup
    http://www.math.mcmaster.ca/arino/chemostat.jpg

    How are you going to "harvest" the energy? Where are you going to store the energy?
     
  7. Mar 31, 2004 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Funny, this just came up in another thread. If you see this thread

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4127

    within you will find a number of good links to work being done with biomass to produce hydrogen. I would think that you may find information related to your efforts as well. There is information throughout the thread with several links concentrated around page 4.

    We need biologists doing this work. Great job!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004
  8. Mar 31, 2004 #7

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    These bacteria don't produce hydrogen, Ivan, they actually produce electrons and have already been used as batteries :smile:

    PRodQuanta, how did your experiment work at that time when you were trying to measure the potential created by the bacteria? Did it work, or did you give it up at the time? :wink:
     
  9. Mar 31, 2004 #8

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  10. Mar 31, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I realize this...I thought that there may still be related information since many links address energy production in general.

    Edit: Though I didn't know that this has already been done. :smile: :smile: :smile:
     
  11. Mar 31, 2004 #10

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "Perhaps one day electronics will be sold with the caveat "bacteria not included.""
    lol :biggrin: :tongue:
     
  12. Mar 31, 2004 #11
    Sorry I haven't had time to reply, I just got back from school. Let me catch up here.

    No, I don't beieve they can. They can power a battery though. Or be stored in a capacitor. Yes, the founder, Dr. Lovley and his assistant, Dr. Chanduri, have helped me out with the microbial fuel cell.

    That's the plan!


    I plan on using biomass and breaking it down into sugars, then turn some of that sugar into ethanol, and giving some of it to the bacteria. It depends on how much energy output each is possible of giving.


    I plan on using soybean vines, and doughnuts that are thrown away every day at Hy-Vee. I plan on using the same methods of fermenting that our local ethanol plant uses.

    I plan on using a basic microbial fuel cell apparatus for the harvesting of energy. Although, the bacteria is primarily anearobic, although it is also facultative, so I will have to make sure it's got it's carbon dioxide and nitrogen enviroment to live in. I will probably store the energy in a capacitor. Or maybe just a plain battery charger.

    Thanks for the info.

    Biologist!?! lol, more like highschooler wannabe Newton, Einstein, Reimann, De Broglie, Schrodinger, Planck, Witten, Bohr... or just physicist. It has to deal with energy, which is why I am interested. But the remark is still greatly appreciated.

    I ended up not being able to obtain the bacteria in time. So instead of only having 3 weeks to do an experiment, I have 52. Also, thanks for the help. For all that don't know, Monique was a huge help in teaching me about this bacteria.


    Thanks a lot guys. Your input is very helpful. Keep bringing it on!

    Paden Roder
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2004
  13. Mar 31, 2004 #12

    iansmith

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It was what expect: recycle organic waste.

    The gaz level migth have an effect on the electricity production. For example, oxygen availability has a great effect on alcohol production from yeast. You migth have to do a range of atmosphere condition to optimize your system.
     
  14. Mar 31, 2004 #13
    Yeah. I plan on doing lots of test for optimization.

    Not to get off track, but how do I get my avatar and quote back. Ever since I got back on the new forum, it deleted both.
     
  15. Mar 31, 2004 #14

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Well Paden, there are plans to ask for a small fee for the signature and some other thingies https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=16544 this is a new version of the forum so I guess not all avatars are available in the new software (you could try to change it though in you user cp).
     
  16. Apr 1, 2004 #15

    Phobos

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Just skimmed the topic.
    A reaction vessel of anaerobes will be hard to maintain (they're sensitive to changes in environment and the system can get out of whack easily). It may be easier to have larger (industrial-scale rather than per-auto) reaction vessels that feeds a power grid that your car can be plugged into. But that would make the technology apply to the overall power grid and not just automotive uses.

    Of course, there may be technical solutions that allow for reliable, small reaction vessels in each vehicle.

    You'll also need to figure out what to do with waste products (biomass, methane, etc.).
     
  17. Apr 1, 2004 #16
    My experiment actually isn't JUST for the purpose of powering a car. Matter-of-factly, it has nothing to do with cars, except for the bacteria having the potential to power a battery, thus powering a car.

    Paden Roder
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2004
  18. Apr 2, 2004 #17
    Are solarcells constructed by many layers of glas reflecting different light frequencies?
     
  19. Apr 2, 2004 #18
    No. A solar cell is a photovoltaic cell that is made up of usually silicon p-type and n-type layers. It uses the sun's energy to knock out loose electrons found in the cell and creates an electric current. One of the main focuses for photovoltaic cells (solar cells) is, matter-of-fact, to REDUCE the reflection of light. You see, the more light (Electromagnetic Energy) that the cell absorbs (not reflects), the more energy there is available to knock out those loose electrons. Ergo, more electricity.
     
  20. Apr 4, 2004 #19
    I know that, PRodQuanta!

    I ment to reflect the light into different absorbers at different layers!
    The first reflector would reflect some light frequencies and let through as many as possible of the others. the absorbers would be as perfect as possible for those frequencies it gets beamed with; the frequencies would get speciall treatment
     
  21. Apr 4, 2004 #20
    By any other name these Rhodoferax ferrireducens might be called Maxwell's demons. Can they provide energy macroscopically? Neurons and muscle cells also produce electricity, but usually with diminishing return. The trick is to get them to work in phase - how is this achieved in animals?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Alternative energy sources
Loading...