- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Microbial fuel cells
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: What are microbial fuel cells, how they work, significance and potential applications?
Context: Microbial fuel cells have been installed at a zoo in London.
Using these cells, a plant has taken the botanical world’s first selfie.
What are microbial fuel cells?
A device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy by the action of microorganisms.
How it works?
- Under sunlight, plants produce sugars and oxygen from water and CO2 (photosynthesis).
- These sugars do not remain in the leaves, but are transported throughout the plant to the stem and roots.
- Some of these sugars are excreted by the roots as a waste product from the plant.
- Soil micro-organisms break this down further, releasing energy.
- This energy is captured using an anode (minus) and a cathode (plus) and charge a super capacitor.
- When the super capacitor is full, the power is discharged and a photo is taken.
Unlike solar panels, plants can survive in the shade, naturally moving into position to maximise the potential of absorbing sunlight.
Sources: Indian Express.