Loofahs, those exfoliating things for skin that men pretend they don't use in the shower, may be a new potential tool to advance sustainability efforts of both energy and waste, according to a paper in the journal Environmental Science&Technology.
The study describes the pairing of loofahs with bacteria to create a power-generating microbial fuel cell (MFC). Shungui Zhou and colleagues note that MFCs, which harness the ability of some bacteria to convert waste into electric power, could help address both the world's growing waste problem and its need for clean power. Current MFC devices can be expensive and complicated to make. In addition, the holes, or pores, in the cells' electrodes are often too small for bacteria to spread out in.