Energy From Dirt Wins $200K Prize

“Literally, This Is Energy From Dirt”

ACCRA, Ghana May 10 (IPS) – You’ve heard of solar power, and also wind power. Now, you might start hearing about soil power as well.

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that make use of the energy given off by soil microbes are amongst the technologies that hold promise for bringing power to developing states, where electricity is often scarce.

The cells also form part of a project that has just won a grant of almost 200,000 dollars in the ‘Development Marketplace’ competition, for which results were announced at ‘Lighting Africa 2008‘; this May 5-8 conference took place in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. The project, developed by six students at Harvard University in the United States, was one of 16 winners selected from 52 finalists competing to bring innovative lighting products to the 74 percent of Africans without access to electricity.

The Development Marketplace competition was held under the ‘Lighting Africa’ campaign, launched towards the end of last year by the World Bank Group. Lighting Africa aims to provide 250 million people on the continent with safe, reliable and economical lighting products and energy services that do not make use of fossil fuels, by 2030. Continue reading