Scientists want to create bacteria powered micro wind farms

 
Jessica Morris
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The tiny bacteria driven power plants could someday be the engines of small, man-made devices (Source: Getty)

University of Oxford scientists are a step closer to creating microscopic wind farms which could power small machines such as smartphone microphones.

In a study published by the journal Science Advances today, the wonks used computer simulations to show how the swarming effect of bacteria can turn multiple motors in order to generate power.

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"Like gusts of wind driving wind turbines, the active turbulance [of bacteria] is spinning these rotas," co-author Dr Tyler Shendruk, from Oxford University’s department of physics, told City A.M.

They added that these tiny bacteria driven power plants could someday be the engines of small, man-made devices that are self-assembled and self-powered – ranging from optical switches to smartphone components.

Co-author Dr Amin Doostmohammadi, from Oxford University’s Department of Physics, said: "The ability to get even a tiny amount of mechanical work from these biological systems is valuable because they do not need an input power and use internal biochemical processes to move around."

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"At micro scales, our simulations show that the flow generated by biological assemblies is capable of reorganising itself in such a way as to generate a persistent mechanical power for rotating an array of microrotors."

Senior author Professor Julia Yeomans, from Oxford University’s Department of Physics, added: "Nature is brilliant at creating tiny engines, and there is enormous potential if we can understand how to exploit similar designs."

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