Algae battery powers microprocessor for months

May 16, 2022 |

In the UK, biochemists at University of Cambridge have run a computer chip on algae for more than six months. Carried out in the home of one of the study’s authors, the “pandemic project” essentially created a biobased battery alternative that could power small electronics without rare earth elements that are already in short supply globally.  

The system consisted of cyanobacteria—which harvest energy from sunlight—and an aluminum anode placed in a container the size of an AA battery. The system was connected to a microprocessor that ran for 45 minutes then went on standby for 15 minutes in a continuous loop for months. 

The microprocessor has been disconnected, but study author Paolo Bombelli says it is still producing a current. “It’s still running and I hope it will run for very long time,” he tells Gizmodo. “Given the right conditions of light, temperature and water, I cannot predict when it will stop. 

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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