Indian American teen Priyanka Satpute and her classmates are hoping a new electricity source will bring rural villages in faraway countries one step closer to a better life.
“For many less-developed countries, electricity is the gateway to everything: education, even civil liberties,” Satpute told the Telegraph.
The Nashua High School North students will spend the school year designing a bacteria-powered battery, thanks to a $7729 grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lemelson-MIT Program, which aims to inspire a new generation of inventors.
Their design will resemble a generator more than a battery but will work in the same way. A 50-gallon tub will house the device, and it would be stored like a septic tank underground, Satpute said.
That tub would then be filled with soil or manure, something easily found in rural villages around the world. The bacteria would also be housed in the tub. When the bacteria begins to replicate, it would produce energy, which would then be captured by electrodes and circuitry and could be sent to a home above as electricity.
The process that produces that power also would produce methane gas, Satpute said. That gas could be captured in a separate tank, and then sent through tubes up to the home above, to be used for heating and cooking.