On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the Chaebol Daesung Group, known for the SolaWin project in the Gobi Desert, wants to set up a research program on the development of microbial energy. Indeed, studies have shown that bacterias can store and produce electricity during their decomposition process, producing methane or hydrogen. These microbes can be stored in a battery and combust when necessary – especially for cars. Hydrogen catalysis in particular, very fast, could be able to constitute powerful engines. Already in 2015, Scientific Reports outlined the cyanobacterium 51142, also known as the blue-green algae, which produces hydrogen, to be used for the green battery. MIT was also conducting research to transform microbes into a species called isobutanol.
The Korean, Kim Younghoon David, is also president of the World Energy calls this new resource, the “blue energy”, as 90% of microbes reside in the ocean. The development of this resource would, according to Daesung’s CEO, improve energy equity, putting an end to the energy trilemma, as there are more microbes on earth surface than coal or oil. The Daesung company in Daegu is specialized in the production of methane coming from microbes. The group’s research is conducted in collaboration with a laboratory in Bristol, the UK, which studies microorganisms to form organic matter for the production of electricity. However, for economic reasons, it is still difficult to create microbe batteries on a large scale even if this investment, would allow Korea to position herself on a new market for green technologies, solar and wind technologies is already saturated by China and India. Eventually, Daesung plans to invest heavily in this technology, to work on “the last piece of the puzzle” of this renewable energy mix.