MIT Researchers Reveal Bacteria-Based Batteries

Dennis Faas's picture

The solution to the age-old problem of weakening battery capacity may soon emerge thanks to tech wizzes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. Scientists there have discovered an efficient way of powering electronic devices using bacteria-infused batteries.

No, this isn't a late April Fool's joke or a long-lost X-Files plot. It's true; the new batteries use a kind of bacteria that can construct an anode after being protected by a layer of cobalt oxide and gold. Once this process is complete, the bacteria batteries can be formed into a nanowire. This makes them drastically different than your regular old batteries that use a pair of anodes, one positive, one negative.

The genetically engineered battery bacteria poses no threat to human beings. (Source:

Over 100 Charges While Maintaining Capacity

In recent tests, the MIT researchers have been able to genetically engineer the bacteria so that it first protects itself with an iron phosphate being attaching to carbon nanotubes. This process makes for a tight network that is highly conductive; according to early reports, to the point where someone can charge and discharge a battery over one hundred times without losing its original capacity.

Some have criticized the research because regular lithium-ion batteries on the market today can, in some cases, be recharged far more than just one hundred times. However, representatives for MIT believe that by the time their 'organic' batteries hit the market they "will be able to go much longer," than their competitors.

The Organic Battery

The fact that these batteries can even get close to their traditional competitors that is truly impressive.

Because the batteries are considered 'green technology' and 'organic,' the expectation is that they not only last longer than other batteries but break down easier once they've been discarded. After all, the primary thrust for the technology is a harmless bacteria that, as far as it sounds, should present only a fraction of the threat posed upon nature by those lithium-ion batteries.

It's hoped that this radical and exciting technology will one day find its way into automobiles, digital media players, and cellphones. However, MIT has been working on this tech for about three years, so its practical, marketable application may still be a ways off. (Source:

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