Fuel Cell Cleans Pollution and Makes Electricity


071203120753.jpgPennsylvania State University environmental engineers have developed a fuel cell that uses pollution from coal and metal mines to generate electricity. Bruce E. Logan and colleagues describe successful tests of a lab-scale fuel cell based on microbial fuel cells capable of generating electricity from wastewater. Their device removes dissolved iron from solution while generating electricity at power levels similar to conventional microbial fuel cells (the recovered iron can be used in paints or other products). Better yet, the researchers say, later generations of these cells will lead to more efficient power generation in the future.

Engineers may save us yet.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones’ environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.