Sharp and RITE Develop Garbage-Powered Fuel Cell

February 13, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

The Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE, Kyoto, Japan) and Sharp Corp. have developed technology necessary for the creation of garbage-powered fuel cells. The biological fuel cells use bacteria to produce hydrogen that in turn can be used to produce energy. The bacteria dine on glucose created by liquefying and refining kitchen waste.

Biological fuel cells offer advantages in size, environmental friendliness and the ability to operate at room temperature. A 2-liter cell could power an entire household. The trick for Sharp and RITE was getting bacteria to live longer and produce more hydrogen, increasing their production efficiency. The partners now want to create small biological fuel cells for appliances and homes. They aim to test such devices in two years.