Engineers from Cambridge run computer on algae

Edited By: Manas Joshi
New Delhi Published: May 13, 2022, 08:27 PM(IST)

King's College Chapel at Cambridge University, which is one of the top two universities in the world in terms of research. Image source: Wikipedia via Andrew Dunn. Photograph:( Others )

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The engineers were able to successfully run a microprocessor for more than six months using a current generated by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)

PC gamers are known to indulge in gaming for hours at an end. A nasty powercut may bring their winning streak to an abrupt, annoying end but if this technology becomes widely available, the gamers can just collect some algae and resume their game.

This may sound funny but engineers from University of Cambridge have actually done this. No, they didn't randomly collect algae and went "Splendid!" over tea as it generated electricity. Read on.

The engineers were able to successfully run a microprocessor for more than six months using a current generated by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Ultimately, these engineers want to provide power for more electric devices.

"The growing Internet of Things needs an increasing amount of power, and we think this will have to come from systems that can generate energy, rather than simply store it like batteries," says Christopher Howe, a biochemist.

Internet of Things is connecting a large number of appliances. But some of these are in such remote locations that costant power supply may be a problem. In such conditions, a solution like deriving energy from a living organism makes a lot of sense.

"Our photosynthetic device doesn't run down the way a battery does because it's continually using light as the energy source," says Howe.

The Bio-photovoltaic cell consists of aluminium wool. The biological part consists of blue-green algae.

An AA-battery-sized version of the cell was able to produce just over over four microwatts per square centimetre of power.

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