U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

"The Electric Microbe" Named one of 50 Best Inventions of 2009 by TIME Magazine
Published: November 16, 2009
Posted: November 20, 2009

TIME Magazine has named a microbe commonly found in the subsurface at sites often contaminated by metal and radioactive wastes as the 20th best invention of 2009. The microbe, Geobacter sulfurreducens, can generate electricity from mud and wastewater using its tiny hairlike extensions called pili. DOE-funded scientist Derek Lovley and his team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have engineered a strain of Geobacter that is eight times more efficient than other strains at producing power. Lovley's team hopes to create novel Geobacter-based fuel cells that can generate cheap, clean electricity.

Reference: Time Magazine, November 23, 2009 (published November 16, 2009)

Contact: Dan Drell, SC-23.2, (301) 903-4742
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: Biosystems Design
  • Cross-Cutting: Lectures, Awards, and Recognition

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


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