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Energy Roundup

June 22, 2012

Scientists are developing brain implants powered by the body’s own sugars.



Microchips powered with sugar. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The cells in your body get their energy from a simple sugar called glucose, and now medical implants may get their energy the same way. In the journal PloS ONE, MIT researchers describe a miniature fuel cell they fabricated on a chip of silicon. It produces electricity from low levels of sugars available inside the human body. The research team specializes in treating brain injuries and disorders, and hope to develop neural implants that never need new batteries.

And on the topic of energy, Chemical and Engineering News reports that major airlines have successfully tested biofuels for jets. They’re made from used cooking oil, biomass and algae, among other sources. The report says the fuels could be a low cost alternative to petroleum, but supplies will need to expand before they are a viable alternative. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Could your next flight be powered by cooking oil? (Jupiter Images)