facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

'Living' battery on Pacific Ocean floor

Dec. 9, 2011 at 8:00 PM   |   Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they've discovered a living battery at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, in microbes that live near hydrothermal vents.

As they feed on chemicals rising from the seafloor, they create electrical currents that flow through the walls of the chimney-like structures they inhabit, researchers said.

"The amount of power produced by these microbes is rather modest," Harvard biologist and engineer Peter Girguis, told ScienceNews.org. "But you could technically produce power in perpetuity."

Girguis presented his findings at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, explaining how he and his colleagues discovered the current with an electrode inserted in the side of an underwater chimney 7,200 feet below the ocean surface at the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the Pacific Northwest coast.

It could be possible to tap this power to run seafloor scientific sensors, he said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
NASA photos show Aral Sea is now just a sliver NASA photos show Aral Sea is now just a sliver
2
Social network Ello getting thousands of requests per hour Social network Ello getting thousands of requests per hour
3
Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus
4
Mount St. Helens shows signs of awakening Mount St. Helens shows signs of awakening
5
Study: dolphins attracted to magnets Study: dolphins attracted to magnets
Trending News
x
Feedback