Mar 3, 2016

Treehuggers stole my headline!

Last weekend I was reading about microbial fuel-cells that are able to convert sewage-waste to electrical energy (Nature). The authors' carefully phrased result ('Mutually complementary substrates may take advantage of substrate interaction in the cell metabolism, and generate a total effect greater than the sum of the individual contribution of single substrate for electricity generation.') will definitely be more streamlined for the 'dumb public' to 'make it more accessible' leading to something like 'energy-problem solved by using synergy'.
Want to bet? It will happen.
The researchers found that two different processes for the generation of electrical energy by microbial fuel-cells can interact synergetically - enhancing the efficiency (in terms of total Coulombs as well as conversion rate) above the added efficiency of both individual processes (as interesting as it is, I am always a bit nervous when looking at the error-bars. But that is only one of the cultural differences between physicists and fellows in life-sciences).
The guys at treehugger.com were so kind to condense the findings not only in a speed-readable text-snippet (which bears exactly the title I would have chosen for the work: 'Power from poo') but also in a video:

It is worth watching.