Thanks to a purple photosynthetic bacteria, we can convert our poop into hydrogen and carbon energy sources.
In a research published in the journal Frontiers in Energy Research, a team of Spanish chemists figured out a way to hijack a bacterium’s ability to turn light into energy — and use it to break down waste into useful fuels.
When the scientists stimulated the bacteria with a weak electric current, it sucked up the hydrogen from some fecal matter. It also extracted the carbon, preventing any greenhouse gas emissions and raising the possibility that the carbon could be used in various materials or other energy sources.
Though this particular study was merely designed to show that the process works, the researchers hope that this bioelectric process could be used to extract clean, usable fuel out of the wastewater treatment process instead of just wiping it all away.
Currently, waste water treatment plants typically dry out and dump human waste while freely burning off any gases they emit.
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