Harnessing energy from marine productivity using bioelectrochemical systems
Over the past decade, studies have shown that devices called microbial fuel cells (MFCs) can harness electricity from microbially mediated degradation of organic carbon, in both lab cultures and natural environments. Other studies have shown that MFCs can harness power from coastal and deep ocean sediments, as well as from plankton, without any fuel supplementation or microbial inoculation. The fuel for these systems is organic matter resulting from oceanic primary productivity. Models suggest that MFCs may operate for decades on endogenous organic carbon. In light of their capacity to generate power in natural milieus by tapping into biogeochemical cycles, MFCs may one day provide an efficient means of generating power (or high value biofuels) directly from marine productivity.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 21, Issue 3, June 2010, Pages 252–258