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Cyborg Cockroach Batteries

Written By Christian DeHaemer

Posted February 6, 2014

I’ve been betting heavily on the turning point in fuel cell technology.

Recently, I came across this bit from the Tech-On blog:

“Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) co-developed a fuel cell that is expected to be used for forming a wireless sensor network with cyborg insects.

The fuel cell generates electricity by using trehalose (sugar) contained in the insect’s body fluid (blood lymph). It consists of electrodes, a tank of body fluid and needle-like pipe to be inserted into the insect. The inside of the tank is separated by a dialysis membrane, and the body fluid flows into the tank by diffusion.

If the power source is combined with a technology to control an insect, it will become possible to use insects for wirelessly transmitting various sensor signals. And flying cyborg insects might realize a wide-area sensor network, eliminating the need to deploy many wireless sensor networks.”

Here’s an image of that fuel cell cyborg cockroach:


Fuel Cell Tipping Point

Obviously we aren’t going to see cockroach batteries in the near future — if ever. But that’s how science starts out. Someone comes up with a wacky idea, gets some grant funding, and is off and running.

The truth is, fuel cells have been around for more than two hundred years. As of yet, no fuel cell company has ever turned a profit.

But there is good reason to believe that is about to change. Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) has said it will be profitable this year based on sales of its forklift engine to all the major retailers with big warehouses.

UPS is buying Plug’s range extenders for its electric trucks.

All major car companies from Toyota to Mercedes have a planned fuel cell vehicle coming out in the next few years.

The general problem with fuel cells is that it takes a lot of power to turn water into hydrogen. In fact, you use more power than you store.

But what if you got free energy?

Here is a picture of the Bakken oil fields at night. That’s North Dakota showing as much light as Minneapolis and almost as much as Chicago.


There are only about 700,000 people living in North Dakota. Those aren’t kitchen lights. They’re the lights of flared natural gas from oil wells.

Because there is no infrastructure to move the natural gas to market, it is cheaper to burn it at the oil well site. This is wasted energy.

And think about wind turbines and solar towers that produce energy when the electric grid doesn’t want it — say when the wind blows at night or when solar isn’t needed on low power-use days.

Now imagine storing all that wasted energy in fuel cells and reusing it when it is needed.

There is a small, little-known company that has imagined this very thing. The stock is up 121% since I recommended it last fall.

And judging by the big blue chip companies buying up shares, this run has a long way to go.

Read the free report here.

To your profits,

Christian DeHaemer Signature

Christian DeHaemer

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Christian is the founder of Bull and Bust Report and an editor at Energy and Capital. For more on Christian, see his editor’s page.

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