Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mussels With Hydrogen Fuel Cells Found

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the more-efficient-than-the-coal-burning-shrimp dept.

Power 76

greenrainbow writes "According to scientists, there are mussels at the bottom of the ocean that are efficiently converting hydrogen into energy in their very own, nature-made hydrogen fuel cells (abstract). The mussels were found near hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor and have onboard symbiotic bacteria that convert hydrogen into energy. With this discovery, researchers might be able to clone the hydrogen eating bacteria to create all-natural hydrogen fuel cells to power things other than sea life."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Call me when you find some who can do cold fusion (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097620)

Jeez, we already know how to do hydrogen fuel cells. Come on nature, give us some info we can USE for once.

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (3, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097824)

Ya I bet the Starfish can do fusion. I mean why else would anyone call it a starfish?

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098900)

Star power!

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099170)

Because it's the leading actor, duh.

Pistol Shrimp with Nuclear Fusion? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100672)

Pistol Shrimp are possibly nuclear: http://www.iwantat.com/blog/2011/03/pistol-shrimp-packing-a-nuclear-reacting-punch-and-how-to-draw-snoopy/ [iwantat.com]
"It takes special breed of high speed camera to slow down time and capture the action of a Pistol Shrimps attack on itâ(TM)s prey. By using itâ(TM)s claw as a sonic weapon it stuns it prey with a tremendous sonic blast by creating a shock wave that can stun or kill in one strike without ever having to touch itâ(TM)s prey. As itâ(TM)s name for which it is called cocks itâ(TM)s claw like a pistol just before an attack at the right moment snaps it shut at such high speed it causes an IMPLOSION of a bubble that collapses upon itself so fast it creates a nuclear fusion instantaneously for a very small brief of time. With temperatures reaching near our own suns temperature at 4,700 ÂC (Degrees) or 8,492 ÂF. (Fahrenheit)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonoluminescence#Biological_sonoluminescence [wikipedia.org]

Re:Pistol Shrimp with Nuclear Fusion? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101032)

Possibly nukular, but not thermo-nukular. The parent was asking about fission, your scientific abstract is discussing fission.

Re:Pistol Shrimp with Nuclear Fusion? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37101036)

The parent was asking about fusion, of course .... heheheh. I guess I lose.

Re:Pistol Shrimp with Nuclear Fusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37101140)

No way that sucker's nuclear. I bet that claim will be disproven within 5 years.

Re:Pistol Shrimp with Nuclear Fusion? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107330)

sorry, fusion doesn't happen at several thousand degrees, so it doesn't happen in the Sun's photosphere either.

Re:Pistol Shrimp with Nuclear Fusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37114892)

Stellar fusion is the result of pressure not temperature. Although some more p-p fusions will happen at very high temperatures because of the effective increase in cross section of the protons, high temperatures produce a real increase in space between -- and within -- the atomic nuclei. Very high temperatures also produce (in a carefully chosen centre of mass inertial frame) higher energy gamma rays, which produce photodisintegrations (which are endothermic, and also more importantly reduce pressure).

That is to say, there is negative coefficient of stellar fusion activity related to increasing temperature.

Note that when discussions of p-p fusion discusses temperature, it is not the temperature of the star, but rather a handy way of discussing the kinetic energies of the two particles in a carefully chosen inertial frame of reference. However, the *real* reaction is happening in a NON-INERTIAL frame and not independently from the energies of nearby particles.

That is, the use of SR and QM (i.e., the general understanding that the tunnelling of waveforms accounts for the presence of p-p fusion even when the temperature a distant non-accelerating observer measures of a star's core is too low) is a deliberate simplification that approximates the activity in the significantly curved spacetime near the centre of mass of a star. This is reasonable because even in highly curved spacetime one can in principle choose a set of coordinates in which a 4-volume under study appears to be locally flat, and because the curvature of spacetime between two neighbouring nuclei near the centre of a star is (statistically) small especially with respect to their mutual Coulomb repulsion.

If fusion were related only to temperature, you would expect fusion to occur in parts of the corona, which (to an observer like SOHO in orbit about the sun) are about as hot as some of the fusion producing volumes towards the centre of the sun. No detectable fusion occurs in the corona; not even a little.

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

Kingleon (1399145) | more than 3 years ago | (#37106220)

SEA STAR!

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097868)

True dat.

We can consume the hydrogen just fine.

Now, if these bacteria found in the mussles could turn seawater into H2 and O2...

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098024)

Jeez, we already know how to do hydrogen fuel cells. Come on nature, give us some info we can USE for once.

Perhaps nature is irritated that we have not done much with hot fusion yet. ;-)

"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need"
The Rolling Stones

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098312)

"Jeez, we already know how to do hydrogen fuel cells. Come on nature, give us some info we can USE for once."

Anyone else thinking "Mussel Matrix" where we ranch massive genetically engineered shellfish to milk for sweet, sweet energy while keeping them content with a computer-generated experience of a happy universe?

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098438)

You mean like we currently do with Horseshoe crabs, catching them in huge masses, draining their blood and then returning them to the sea?

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100506)

care to explain?
I'm uneducated on this, find it intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100736)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_crab

Their blood contains amebocytes, which play a role similar to white blood cells for vertebrates in defending the organism against pathogens. Amebocytes from the blood of L. polyphemus are used to make Limulus amebocyte lysate, which is used for the detection of bacterial endotoxins.

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098416)

Cold Fusion? Who would want that?

Python would be much better. Or maybe PHP. Hell, I'll even take plain ol' JavaScript, but CF?

I recall a Stargate episode... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099376)

That some plant on some planet totally does the cold fusion thing in its own roots some magical hippie how.

Re:Call me when you find some who can do cold fusi (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099412)

Jeez, we already know how to do hydrogen fuel cells. Come on nature, give us some info we can USE for once.

And at what temperature do human-made fuel cells work?

And what's the size of the smallest fuel cells we can make?

I can't wait... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37097720)

for the new generation of mussel cars.

Re:I can't wait... (0)

I'm just joshin (633449) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097758)

Aw hell, I laughed. +1 to the AC.

Re:I can't wait... (3, Funny)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097938)

Wow, how many clams would a car like that cost you?

Re:I can't wait... (1)

hellkyng (1920978) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098368)

You know how these things go if you have to ask, you probably couldn't shell out enough...

Re:I can't wait... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099090)

Eh.... he's probably just a shrimp, compensating for.... you know...

Re:I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099408)

You're just fishing for a +5 Funny mod. Aren't you?

Just wait till they're grown in Belgium. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37097974)

Then we will have the mussels from Brussels!

Re:Just wait till they're grown in Belgium. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099176)

Then we will have the mussels from Brussels!

We'll have to hustle if we want the mussels from Brussels.

Re:Just wait till they're grown in Belgium. (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099484)

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
who was six foot four, and full of mussels.
I said "Do you speaka my language?"
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich.

Re:Just wait till they're grown in Belgium. (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100154)

mmmmm Mussels from Brussels. PhilP

Re:I can't wait... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098554)

If it's a green mussel car, no one will call you shellfish and accuse you of having a shrimpy cockle.

Re:I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37099370)

Great. Now I have "Wet Dream In The Gulf Stream" banging around in my head.

Re:I can't wait... (1)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099774)

how many bivalves per cylinder? overhead clam?

Re:I can't wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37109316)

I sea what you did here

woo! (2)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097778)

My giant squid shaped, world cruising, shipping menace of a submersible is one step closer to fruition!

Re:woo! (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097828)

Now we know what Captain Nemo used to power his submarine!

Re:woo! (1)

gzuckier (1155781) | more than 3 years ago | (#37111128)

i assumed he had a fishin engine

Re:woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37097846)

Stop being so shellfish!

Re:woo! (1)

jamiesan (715069) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097862)

Make sure you have a very sturdy hull. Wouldn't want it to be Kraken under pressure.

Re:woo! (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097870)

You said that on porpoise!

Re:woo! (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097928)

These puns are giving me a haddock.

Re:woo! (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098034)

I'm sure there is a pun in here about either a dry dock or a wet dock perhaps both.

Re:woo! (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 3 years ago | (#37099010)

He'd better stop before he makes anemone out of you.

Re:woo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100864)

I gotta pun too, just for the halibut.

Re:woo! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098340)

To hell with that. MY self-powered hydrogen-generating calcium-shelled Fleshlight is closer to fruition!

Re:woo! (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098476)

Ouch?

Electron donor != fuel cell (5, Insightful)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097902)

To summarize their results with a little more rigor; these deep sea organisms use hydrogen as an electron donor for the fixation of carbon (in the form of dissolved bicarbonate). There is little to suggest at this moment that the scientists have a ready method for using these enzymes to produce electric flow. For example, we have known the complete cycle of electrons in photosynthesis yet no solar panels are enzyme based. So I would be cautious of using the term 'fuel cell' which implies the production of electricity.

Please note that the scientists themselves never made the claim that the clams had a 'hydrogen fuel cell' and the discovery of an organism that uses hydrogen gas as an electron donor is a significant one.

Re:Electron donor != fuel cell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37102274)

That's why they are called proton exchange membranes, not electron donor glory holes.

Producing More != Using Less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37097930)

Wonderful! Surely this can power my 300 kW, 8,600 pound SUV at highway speeds!

Aww, crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37097932)

"Who ate my batteries?"

One step closer to (1)

freaxeh (1962440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097960)

sharks with frikin' laser beams attatched to their heads.

Re:One step closer to (1)

jamiesan (715069) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098784)

This is more like clams with fricken tasers.

Now for the real tricks... (3, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37097986)

The real tricks with the hydrogen fuel cells are getting a reliable source of hydrogen with a low energy input (it's almost always found in compound with other elements) and storing it at high enough volumes to be really useful without using high pressures or exotic, expensive materials.

I rather prefer the cellulose to biodiesel bacteria, algae, and fungi that are being researched. It seems to be a more useful fuel, and cellulose seems a lot more readily available than loose hydrogen. Biobutanol from cellulose [domesticfuel.com] is being researched in Japan, and butanol is a fairly straightforward replacement for at least part of a diesel's fuel. There's a fungus found in a rainforest [typepad.com] that converts sugar or cellulose into a number of hydrocarbons and can be urged to make more based on exposure to antibiotic compounds. There's talk of work to genetically engineer something to do this, which likely would be a bacterium like e. coli engineered to produce the same compounds from the same feedstocks. In fact, e. coli is already being used [scientificamerican.com] in research to convert cellulose into diesel and kerosene.

Re:Now for the real tricks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098798)

In fact, e. coli is already being used [scientificamerican.com] in research to convert cellulose into diesel and kerosene.

Wonderful, another source for oily discharge. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Now for the real tricks... (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37107396)

Diesel substitutes are actually pretty easy to make. Gasoline substitutes are much harder, to the point most of them cost more gasoline than they replace. Ethanol for fuel is a joke being played on all of us, a scam at our expense. The faster we give up on ethanol and get into bio-diesel, the better.

Re:Now for the real tricks... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37183960)

Well, theoretically you could make ethanol out of cellulose as well as from the sugars. The thing is, you can make biodiesel out of much the same stuff with less processing.

I think the main drive behind ethanol is that there are few diesel passenger vehicles right now, and it's easier to convert a gasoline vehicle to ethanol than to diesel. However, since we're talking plugin pure electrics, plugin hybrids, grease cars, propane, NG, LNG, LP, hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen combustion (again, more of a stop gap than a solution), and others I think moving to petro/bio diesel mix with ore bio over the years is a good way to look toward if we're going to be replacing and retrofitting a bunch of vehicles anyway.

Press release headdeskage (2)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098052)

If you thought that American and Chinese universities were the only ones who pump up their press releases with nonsense to attract more attention, the Max Planck Gesselschaft offers up evidence to the contrary.

The real news here: they've discovered a novel mechanism for chemosynthesis, which is how organisms can make energy from chemicals rather than photosynthesis. It's already been observed with other hydrogen compounds like hydrogen sulfide and methane, but it hadn't been observed for pure hydrogen until now.

It's probably not useful for powering cars. There's nothing surprising or novel about the ability to extract energy from pure hydrogen or hydrogen compounds; it's surprising and novel that you can power a living organism that way. The hard part has always been obtaining and transporting high-energy hydrogen compounds in the first place (though fuel cells can always use some improvement).

Of course you never know what insights are going to come from any novel mechanism you discover, but the article doesn't go into applications and there's no reason to imagine it would be good for cars. The keyword for this study is microbiology, not engineering, and that's is just a way to try to make it sound more immediately applicable than it is.

I suppose it's asking too much for press release writers to stick to the actual facts, which are interesting enough in this case, rather than unfounded speculation.

Re:Press release headdeskage (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098190)

it's surprising and novel that you can power a living organism that way.

Its also kinda a problem. "everyone knows" diesel needs a biocide or it gets eaten by bacteria and its a serious problem. Its not an issue, as far as I know, for any other gas or liquid fuel. (Dilute ethanol can ferment into acetic acid aka vinegar, but dilute ethanol isn't much of a fuel to begin with) But now it seems "stuff" could grow inside a H2 pipeline, which is interesting. Probably this will be yet another good reason for humidity control inside pipelines, yet another good reason for H2 filtration so as not to clog nozzles, etc.

Re:Press release headdeskage (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098950)

The only stuff that could grow would either have to be intentionally transported from 3km below the ocean surface or spontaneously follow the same evolutionary path that took millions of years down there. Doubtful.

Re:Press release headdeskage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37103644)

um.. or ID?

Re:Press release headdeskage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37100926)

"Not useful for powering cars"? I cannot haz mussel car?? :-

Re:Press release headdeskage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37108942)

This has been observed for pure hydrogen for a long time. Many types of cyanobacteria have always been known to do this...

Why clone? (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098076)

TFA mentions nothing about cloning. Do we lack a growth medium [wikipedia.org] that works for this bacteria or is that just a throw away line in the summary?

Cheaper fuel == (1)

kelfink (603517) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098080)

Return of the mussel car

"Cloning Bacteria" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098082)

Isn't that just called mitosis?

And in a related study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098092)

It was found that bovines turn grass into methane almost as well as rice paddies. It's harvesting the gas that is a real pain in the...

You get the idea.

Put these in my spaghetti fruitti di mare. ... (1)

wdef (1050680) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098112)

... and I can party all night long!

Why the Matrix was unrealistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098162)

other than sea life... Like robots maybe? I think slow motion mussels would have been a boring movie though.

KILL THEM!!!! (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098236)

Quick, kill them and take their advanced technological devices!!!!

hydrogen metabolism (3, Informative)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098268)

Bacteria that do hydrogen oxidation [wikipedia.org] as a method for driving their metabolism have been known for decades. The novel thing in this paper is that they've found a symbiont, where a eukaryote (in this case a mussel) coexists with hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria, whereas previously the known hydrothermal vent symbionts contained bacteria with sulfur-based compounds or methane metabolic cycles. Unfortunately there appears to be nothing new about hydrogen metabolism, and nothing particularly useful for humans who want to harness hydrogen metabolism, in this.

Hydrogen Muscles (1)

umask077 (122989) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098276)

If I back the muscles I have to know, Does white wine conduct electricity?

Mmmm... mussels. (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098428)

As if turning corn/sugar cane into ethanol wasn't enough, now mussels will become fuel.

What's next, pizza fuel??

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37098474)

welcome our hydrogen powered mussle overlords.

The burger I just ate is providing me with energy (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37098492)

but it sure as fuck wont start my car

whats next, Solar powered plants produce energy in nature???

Seems kinda scary (1)

Codifex Maximus (639) | more than 3 years ago | (#37100396)

Seems kinda scary! All these mussels emitting Dihydrogen Monoxide - we all know how dangerous that is.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?