Scrolling Headlines:

Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

Time recognizes UM professor’s invention as one of the year’s best

University of Massachusetts professor of microbiology Derek Lovley was featured in a Time Magazine article published on Nov. 12 for creating one of the top 50 inventions of 2009 – A more effective way to get electricity out of microorganisms.

Lovley, a Ph.D. graduate from Michigan State University who came to UMass in 1995, said it was “not [his] first time with Time.” Previously, Lovley said he had been featured in the magazine back in 2004 as an environmentalist and has been covered by the press for over 20 years.

The potential for this electricity producing organism is enormous, according to Lovley.

The invention that won acclaim this year began with a discover Lovley made in 1987 when he found a new class of bacteria called Geobacter. The anaerobic bacteria can create electricity by using small hair-like filaments called microbial nanowires to extract energy from surrounding mud and water.

Lovley explained that the bacteria uses electrodes like we use oxygen, as a way to get electrons out of the cell.

Lovley added that his team’s explorations into the use of the microbe for power generation started in 2002 with underwater sea experiments funded by the U.S. Navy trying to extract power from the mud.

“Now kids can do it for science fair projects,” Lovley said. “If you connect graphite in the mud to outside graphite you get a [power] flow.”

Lovley said this year he and his team came up with a strategy for increasing power output and manipulated the Geobacter to make it eight times more effective.

“[The improvement] greatly expands practical applications,” he added.

According to Lovley, a key proponent of his research team is UMass graduate and research assistant professor Dr. Kelly Nevin, who grew the stronger electrode that allowed for the invention.

Lovley added that his lab focuses on more than just the Geobacter. The lab, which has 50 to 60 researchers and staff, is environmentally focused with working heavily on groundwater purification and, as Lovley put it, “things one would normally think of as fuel, such as trash.”

According to Lovley, he has had some research funded by Toyota for a long-term fuel source, though he added that is quite a few years away. Other potential future applications include small electronics batteries and wastewater treatment.

For now, Lovley and his team have a paper ready to be published on the effectiveness of Geobacter in the Boston Harbor. The research, according to Lovley, has expedited the clean-up process and can possibly be applied to other polluted waterways.

Sam Hayes can be reached at sdhayes@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Time recognizes UM professor’s invention as one of the year’s best”
  1. Robert Collins says:

    Great article! Clear, Comprehensive and Challenging.

Leave A Comment