Biogas-Farting Bugs Can Aid Green Power
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 8:56 PM CDT
A bus drives past a windmill farm recently built on the edge of Lake Nicaragua in Rivas, Nicaragua, Dec. 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
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(Newser) – Single-celled organisms that absorb electricity and emit methane can help people store energy from green power sources, New Scientist reports. Researchers have found that certain microorganisms, when fed surplus power, mix it with carbon dioxide to create methane, which can be saved and burned any time—perfect for storing power from uneven sources like solar and wind.

About 80% of energy can be saved this way—a high rate for power storage—and "it should be very cheap," one expert said. "What I like about this method is it's simple, it's replicable and it's scalable." Similar studies made hydrogen fuel from single-celled organisms, but there's little market for it. Commercial applications of the methane model "could be just a few years down the road," said the study's lead author.