We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

"Electric Fart Machine" Could Lead to Greater Fuel Storage Efficiency

By Rachel Cernansky
Apr 24, 2009 9:59 PMNov 5, 2019 8:50 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

While it may sound like every six-year-old boy's dream, a new electric fart machine could actually improve fuel cell technology. The machine takes single-celled microoranisms called archea and gives them little electric jolts, which trigger the organisms to turn carbon dioxide from the air into methane and release it as, um, micro-farts. The methane can then be used to power fuel cells or store the electrical energy chemically until it's needed. Shockingly, the farting machine won't solve global warming, since methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. What it might do, though, is improve the efficiency of storing alternative energies such as solar and wind. (No mention of whether increasing the efficiency increases the smell as well.) Related Content: Discoblog: Technology Is a Gas: “Pull My Finger” Takes iFart to Court Discoblog: Could Poop Fuel Our Future? New Sewage-Powered Buses Hint at Yes Discoblog: Not Subtle, But It Works: Peepoo Bag Converts Human Waste Into Fertilizer

Image: Flickr / s_mestdagh

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.