8 Apr 2009

Ecotec Methods for Methane Transmission

In a previous entry on the future of energy transmission, I claimed that the best way to maximise the efficiency of renewable energy was to convert it to methane, allowing it to be stored and moved around far more easily, and providing a direct source of non-fossil hydrocarbons for all our needs.

Well, today I learned it has come a step closer, with the news of a discovery of a bacterium that can turn electricity into methane.

The new method relies on a microorganism studied by Bruce Logan's team at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. When living on the cathode of an electrolytic cell, the organism can take in electrons and use their energy to convert carbon dioxide into methane.

New Scientist, 6/4/09

As for the efficiency:

Of the energy put into the system as electricity, 80% was eventually recovered when the methane was burned – a fairly high efficiency.

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