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Algae Is The Next New Green Power Source

First Posted: Nov 25, 2015 03:47 PM EST

Researchers are now using algae as a new green power source, at Concordia University in Canada. In their study, the researchers created a technology that channels electrical energy from plants.

The researcher's technique involves photosynthesis and respiration which takes place in plants. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is everywhere and readily available. They are considered to be the most flourishing microorganisms on the earth and their habitats ranges from all angles. Photosynthesis and respiration in plants entails electron transfer chains.

"By trapping the electrons released by blue-green algae during photosynthesis and respiration, we can harness the electrical energy they produce naturally," Muthukumaran Packirisamy, lead author of the study and engineering professor, said in a news release.

The photosynthetic power cell is on a small scale, where itphot has an anode, proton exchange membrane and cathode. The blue-green algae are placed in the anode chamber, where it goes through photosynthesis and releases electrons to the electrode surface. The device is then connected to an external load, which extracts the electrons and harness power.

"By taking advantage of a process that is constantly occurring all over the world, we've created a new and scalable technology that could lead to cheaper ways of generating carbon-free energy," Packirisamy said.

The researchers are hoping that the micro-photosynthetic power cells can be applied in powering a range of electronic devices, such as cell phones and computers. However, Packirisamy and his team claimed that their development is in its early stages and much work still needs to be done with the new technology.

"We have a lot of work to do in terms of scaling the power cell to make the project commercial," Packirisamy said.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Technology.

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