Scientists have recently found a way to trick bacteria on the sea floor to eat electricity and then use this power to convert carbon dioxide into a bio-fuel.
The possibilities could be astounding as this process could one day be used to solve one of the hardest hang ups in the electricity service industry, power storage.
This bacteria would create a bio-fuel that could be used to power home power generators, cars, and basically whatever you might want to power up.
There is an iron-oxidizing bacteria called M. ferrooxydans that relies on soluble iron known as ferrous iron. The ferrous iron also goes by the name FeII and this bacteria relies on this as the source of electrons it needs to breathe.
When there is a lot of oxygen present like above sea level on our modern-day dry planet we call earth the bacteria we are referring to is called rust. You have probably heard of rust before and know it as a nuisance and that which might give you tetanus which is why you get that big gauge needle in your butt every 5 years or so.
So as we know it when this iron is over taken by oxygen it becomes rust but when overtaken by the bacteria it the M. ferrooxydans does the job of oxygen and in return gaining an extra electron.
The electron thieves which are the microbes we have been talking about use proteins on the outside of their cells to capture the extra electron.
The scientists put M. ferrooxydans onto the surface of the electrodes that were tuned to release electrons at the same frequency as the naturally occurring substance known as Fell.
The started in this way simply to get the organisms started in this new human created environment. The scientists went on to add a little Fell to the mix to super charge the process.
The 2nd stage of this process they saw the microbes multiply over the surface of the electrode over a course of a few weeks.
These scientists then scraped some away and started a new colony on an electrode with no Fell on it whatsoever.
What they witnessed was the bacteria continuing to survive even after scraped another time and started on as a 3rd colony on an additional electrode.
In summary what we are trying to explain to you is that M. ferrooxydans are able to use electricity from electrodes to capture carbon dioxide and replicate bacteria that may one day act as an energy storage fuel. Considering our electric grid is an on demand electricity system where energy is created and used at the same time an energy storage scientific breakthrough is ultimately what the world needs to guarantee around the clock reliable electric service with no possibility of brown-outs black-outs and the like.
You can read more about this topic on this Popular Science article