Researchers have developed a more efficient way to extract hydrogen from biological materials using a bacterial fuel cell. The cell uses a granulated graphite anode, a carbon cathode with a platinum catalyst, and an off-the-shelf anion exchange membrane. Naturally-occurring bacteria within the cell consume biological materials such as acetic acid and release electrons and protons. Adding a bit more electrical energy to the cell is enough to produce bubbles of hydrogen. The researchers say 288 percent more energy in hydrogen is produced than the amount of electrical energy put into the cell.
In this segment, Ira talks with one of the researchers about the work, and whether the work might change the debate over biofuels.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer