New bacterial batteries will produce energy on Mars. A bacterial electricity generator based on bacteria and silicon nanowires was created by scientists from the University of California at Berkeley, their study was published in the scientific journal Joule.
In recent years, scientists have been developing energy concepts that would allow astronauts to colonize Mars. NASA proposes the use of small nuclear reactors that can operate in airless space. The first prototypes of such devices, which will be able to generate about 40 kilowatts of energy, are going to be presented to NASA by 2023.
Scientists from the University of California at Berkeley have proposed a more environmentally friendly option – a device where energy is generated by bacteria like Sporomusa ovata. These bacteria can capture free electrons from the environment and use them to break down carbon dioxide molecules and produce nutrients. They can be connected to solar panels to simultaneously produce both energy and organics.
“In fact, all that is needed for the operation of these batteries is to put them in sunlight and give microbes a chance to do their job. Another important plus of this biosystem is that bacteria can multiply. This is important for long-distance space flights, at the launch of which every extra kilogram is expensive”.
Professor of the University of California at Berkeley Peydun Yang.
Now a forest of such bacteria, which scientists have grown in the laboratory, converts 3.6% of the absorbed energy into vinegar and organic compounds similar to it, while producing oxygen. At the same time, such a technology is 7 times less effective than inorganic solar cells, but their efficiency is much higher than that of plant analogs.