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  • Energy...solar or conventional

    A new fuel cell taps the energy of seafloor sediments.

    Leave organic sediments on the seafloor for 80 million years, and they might turn into crude oil. But some microbiologists and geobiologists aren’t willing to wait that long to exploit the sediments’ latent energy. They’re developing a simple, inexpensive fuel cell—just two disk-shaped electrodes and a connecting circuit—that generates electricity when planted in bottom-of-the-ocean muck. “The seafloor constitutes a ready-made battery,” says the Naval Research Laboratory’s Leonard Tender, who coinvented the device with Clare Reimers of Oregon State University.
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