Friday, March 12, 2010

Bacteria Power

The most common form of life, pound for pound, on Earth isn't humans, or ants, or any of the other multitudes of life we're all familiar with. It's bacteria. So tiny as to be invisible to the naked eye, bacteria swarm across every inch of every surface. Trillions of pounds of bacteria float through the air. The growth of plants is only possible due to the innumerate bacteria in the soil that fix nitrogen in the air into nitrogen compounds in the soil that plants can use.
I can tell many of you are already frantically reaching for sanitizing compounds, but that isn't necessary. Most bacteria will not make you sick. In fact, all of us have bacteria in our guts that helps us to digest food, a symbiotic relationship that runs back hundreds of thousands of years.
Since all life requires energy to live, and these nonillions of bacteria are obviously getting their energy from somewhere, I propose a system to collect bacteria, perhaps with a "sticky" surface, or perhaps by vacuum and filter, and seize their energy for our own purposes. We can power them by food waste, or some other such thing, and have lots of green power.


TwoYaks said...

I think the energy to collect them `in the wild` would exceed the energy they would yield. Better would be to grow them on some energy source we can't capture, and harvest every now and again.

themadengineer said...

Spontaneous generation was disproved with an experiment in which a flask of broth with a straight tube and a flask of broth with a twisty tube (that bacteria couldn't enter, but fresh air could), were both left in a courtyard. The flask of broth with the straight tube decayed, and the twisted-tube'd flask's broth was fine. Why? Bacteria. They are so numerous that collecting them is that easy.

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