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Stanford Researchers Produce Electricity from Green Algae 2

On April 13, Stanford University, California announced that its scientists have generated electricity from green algae in an environmentally friendly process.The study was conducted by WonHyoung Ryu in the lab of Professor Fritz Prinz. The researchers hope that one day this clean method of producing energy could replace the burning of fossil fuels.

The technology behind this invention involves trapping the algal cells with very thin gold needles--on the order of nanometer thickness (one-millionth of a millimeter). The cell membranes of the algae simply close around the gold needles. The algae produces electricity via photosynthesis, and the gold needles transmits the electricity to an external device that records the electricity.

Though the electricity generation from algae seems interesting, there is a long way to go before algae can replace fossil fuels. The research hasn?t satisfied the expectation for algae as an effective replacement for fossil fuels. The algae produced a miniscule amount of electricity--one picoampere per cell per hour. To put that in perspective, you would need a trillion cells in an hour just to produce the energy equivalent to one double-A battery. Therefore, the scientists need to generate more electricity in less time. Furthermore, the algae died shortly after the experiment, so scientists need to figure out how to generate electricity continuously without killing the algae.

Note: You can read the formal scientific paper in the March issue of Nano Letters.

See more: http://www.examiner.com/x-44013-Science-News-Examiner~y2010m4d14-Stanford-Researchers-Produce-Electricity-from-Green-Algae
Mon April 19 2010 02:49:37 AM by Mathumitha Algae Research  |  Algae-electricity 1718 views
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