Energy storage device harnesses the awesome power and efficiency of, uh, farts

Here's a new green machine that coaxes microbes into farting, storing the resulting methane for later use. Because windmills and solar panels only work when the wind's blowing or the sun's shining, scientists are looking for the most efficient ways to store that energy. "I know, let's use farts," Professor Bruce Logan at Pennsylvania State University might have said as he invented an electronic fart machine that can do the job with 80% efficiency. We'll just let him explain it:

"It works like this: giving small jolts of electricity to single-celled microorganisms known as archea prompts them to remove C02 from the air and turn it into methane, released as tiny "farts." The methane, in turn, can be used to power fuel cells or to store the electrical energy chemically until it's needed."

What a great idea, Professor! It's a whole lot cheaper than a large, expensive battery, and from what we've heard and smelled, farts are in no short supply.

Discovery News, via Treehugger