A team of researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey has created a "bionic sponge" that can produce electricity without the use of fossil fuels. The fungus is covered with cyanobacteria, small organisms are found around the world that convert the sunlight into electricity.
Scientists have long considered whether cyanobacteria can be used as an alternative source of energy, the main obstacle being that organisms can not survive on artificial surfaces. Engineering engineers Manu Mannoor and Sudeep Joshi of Stevens Institute realized that mushrooms already hosts several other forms of microbial life to provide the right environment – nutrients, humidity, pH and temperature – to make the cyanobacteria good.
The engineers attached a three-dimensional printed set of cyanobacteria and grafted nanoribons to collect the electrical current to the pile of white buttons that were purchased in the grocery store. Several foxes covered with cyanobacterial cyanobacteria generated enough electrical energy to light up a small lamp, the BBC reported. Scientists have published their findings in the journal Nano Letters.
"Right now, we're using a pond of cyanobacteria, but you can genetically engineer them … produce higher photographic streams," Joshi told the BBC. "It is a new start, we call it a proposed symbiosis." If we are going to have more research in this research, we can actually move this area forward to have some type of effective environmental technology. "