Scientists have created the world’s first saliva powered micro-sized microbial fuel cell that can produce minute amounts of energies that could be used in microelectronic devices.
The energy is created when bacteria breaks down organic matter, producing a charge that is transferred to the anode. An international team of talented engineers, headed by Professor Bruce E Logan, professor of environmental engineering at Penn State University, USA, came together to make this happen.
While the researchers tested this generator using the human saliva, it can also alternatively use any fuel/liquid with sufficient microbes. Hence, the idea of harnessing waste water also seems promising. These generators work at a very sub watt level and hence the concept of developing ultra low power chips in biomedical electronic devices seems to be turning into a reality.
One possible application of this fuel cell would be a tiny ovulation predictor based on conductivity of a woman’s saliva, which changes 5 days prior ovulation. The generator can measure the conductivity and transfer the data to a nearby cell phone to narrate results to the consumers.
Microbial fuel cells seem to be the future of portable energy sources.