Monday, January 26, 2015

Microbial Battery: A New Possibility of Self-Recharging Devices

Today's energy needs are an issue that is gaining much boom, ways of generating energy these days are very wide, in this one there are ways that may seem very strange to us but the human mind doesn't apparently has limits is only a matter of reinventing what nature already does by itself.

Among the alternatives to generate electricity is common to mention solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, nuclear, microbial cells, between many others. However it is last one sounds a little familiar with a slight change, the use of microorganisms. Harnessing energy from microorganisms sounds illogical, it is difficult to imagine in the mind, How something we can't see with the naked eye can produce more electricity than a conventional alkaline battery? these microorganisms allow us to use the oxidizing power generated when oxidize organic matter.

The idea is not as present, there are registers since 1911, when the botanist Michael Cressé Potter carried out the first attempt to use microorganisms to produce electricity, demonstrating that the breakdown of organic compounds by microorganisms is accompanied by the release of electricity that saw influenced by factors such as temperature, nutrient concentration of the media and the number of active microorganisms inducing the electricity production in microbial cells with a range of 0.3 to 0.5 Volt.
Microbial battery: microorganisms are attached to the carbon filaments of the battery

These results have been the basis of much research that handle electrochemical and engineering aspects that have allowed the development of microbial batteries as an alternative energy that can purify wastewater and recover the energy contained in it, if we compare with alkaline fuel cells in the market that can generate about 1.5 to 12 V, one of these can contaminate near 175,000 liters of water, and contain toxic substances such as zinc, manganese, bismuth, copper and silver, which produce various alterations human health while the microbial cells offer an option for direct power generation from oxidized donor and recovery of electricity from domestic wastewater, caring for the environment.
Pollution by alkaline baterries
 In 2013, Xie Xing introduced a microbial battery (MB) with modifications that promises to be more successful. In their MB prototyp the anode is colonized by microorganisms that oxidize domestic wastewater or glucose releasing electrons to an external circuit. The electrons enter a reoxidable silver oxide electrode solid-state (cathode), where the O2 is reduced making limited energy recovery by a voltage loss in this reaction. The molecular oxygen is not introduced into the battery and the ion exchange membranes is avoided which allows a high conversion efficiency of 49% power. The key of this device is the use in cathode functioning as a rechargable battery, in the next figure we can observe the operation of the microbial battery.
Schematic of two-step energy generation process using microbial batteries
This new contribution is not only to consider replacing domestic batteries whether not as a new deployment strategy batteries in cell phones or computers. Who has dreamed of having an electronic device that doesn't discharge? I would be very happy with something and maybe missing a lot for that but this progress is very promising so I don't rule out the possibility.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A memorandum of understanding between West Virginia State University and Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila

On January 19th, our school had the honor of the visit of Dr. Brian Hemphill, President of West Virginia State University with his wife Dr. Marisela Rosas Hemphill, MC. Katherine McCarthy,  Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs and Dr. José Ulises Toledo, Managing Director of Research and Public Service. WVSU team along with M.C. Maria de Lourdes Froto Madariaga, Director of our school interacted with students of our school in an event organised by the school administration. They presented the objectives as well as the benefits of the agreement to be signed between UAdeC and WVSU.

Later in the evening the agreement was signed by Lic. Jose Blas Dávila Flores, Rector of our University and Dr. Brian Hemphill, President of WVSU in the presence of University officials, Faculty, Student representatives and students our school.

This agreement will offer a lot of opportunities to both students and faculty of both universities such as exchange visits, International mobility for students, research stays that can lead to research publications contributing to scientific knowledge.

We, the students appreciate the effort of both Universities to offer us a good formation and hope we make good use of this opportunity.
Dr. Brian O. Hemphill, President of WVSU, the first lady and
few past and present students of Bioremediation Lab.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It started when...

Biorem Lab students have been putting all their efforts to undergo advanced training, carry out part of their thesis and to pursue higher studies at West Virginia State University for the past five years with orientation of Dr. Nagamani.

Thanks to the achievements of all those involved, their efforts have transcended today by signing of MOU between UAdeC. and WVSU. As a student of the School of Biological Sciences I feel happy and grateful because for us, actual students,  this MOU means new opportunities for us, which definitely we not want to miss.

It all starts with something and most of students from Biorem were the ones who laid the first stone for this to take place. A video of the past activities of biorem students in collaboration from Professors of WVSU is linked below. We hope you enjoy, plan to participate in activities such as exchange programs and research stays that could help in our Academic and Professional formation.