In Africa, Microbes for Off-the-Grid Electricity

Dirt = electricity.

That’s the premise behind microbial fuel cells, which harnesses the naturally occurring bugs in soil, manure and waste water to generate very small currents.  For a long time, it was thought that the amounts of energy generated were too low to be of any practical use.  But a new start-up in Cambridge MA – Lebônê Solutions, is taking microbial electricity to rural African villages with no electric grid and plenty of (read: mobile phone) battery powered electronics.

The technology is very cheap, easy to scale, and completely self-sustaining after the initial investment.  What a great application of technology to a developing country, especially given the prevalence of mobile technology in those areas!  Click here to read the MIT Technology Review article.

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One Response to In Africa, Microbes for Off-the-Grid Electricity

  1. Roxanne says:

    Cindy this is a great article. I took the Alternative Energy speaker series in FallB last year and they talked about this subject…it’s really interesting. Another thing they are doing is trying to use algae that grows in the ocean….very cool stuff.

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