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Electricity Extracted from Snails

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Some of us still remember the story about electrical power extracted from a grape. The following  story is similar, although this time the power source is a snail.

Researchers at Clarkson University in Postdam, New York, implanted small biofuel cells into ordinary snails, and successfully extracted electrical power from the glucose and oxygen in the snail’s blood.

Don’t think this will be the easy solution to energy scarcity though. We are talking here about 0,16 microwatts of continuous power. It takes millions to power one light bulb. The grape’s performance was not that far off.

The snails did not have to do anything special, the researchers say. ‘They eat, drink and crawl. We take care to keep them alive and happy.’ The snail research precedes similar experiments with cockroaches and beetles. The results of those will soon be published.

The researchers already expressed their desire to move on to larger animals, as it is expected that those will provide more power. Next up on their list: lobsters.

Source: Nature

Halámková, L., Halámek, J., Bocharova, V., Szczupak, A., Alfonta, L., & Katz, E. (2012). Implanted Biofuel Cell Operating in a Living Snail Journal of the American Chemical Society DOI: 10.1021/ja211714w

Mano, N., Mao, F., & Heller, A. (2003). Characteristics of a Miniature Compartment-less Glucose-O2 Biofuel Cell and Its Operation in a Living Plant. Journal of the American Chemical Society : 10.1021/ja0346328 (2003)

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