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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ohio's Cow-Powered Fuel Cells: Moola May Come From State's Mooers And Shakers

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Researchers at Ohio State University say they have successful constructed an experimental fuel cell powered by digestive fluid drained from a cow's belly. This is not BS. The device actually delivered enough electricity in a laboratory to recharge one Double-A battery. This development is beginning to spark interest in the scientific world, which senses a potentially significant breakthrough in the search for alternative energy sources. There might be a way to make moola, which is why the state invested in the program to harness agriculture and high-tech.

OSU says "the source of power for these fuel cells comes from the breakdown of cellulose by a variety of bacteria in rumen fluid, the microbe-rich fluid found in a cow's rumen, the largest chamber of a cow's stomach. To create power, researchers fill one compartment of a microbial fuel cell with cellulose and rumen fluid."

Researchers said they tapped a live cow's belly through a surgically installed porthole. The fuel cell was about two inches wide, three inches tall and three inches long. The scientists kept it running for three months. OSU has more information about the project here. Researchers are now trying to figure out how to grow the bacteria that thrive in cow stomachs without having to tap a cow's belly.

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