The microbe a member of the Geobacter genus, a group known as “electrigens” for their known ability to generate an electrical charge. “It was UMass Amherst microbiologist Derek Lovley who found and wrote about the microbe in the late 80s,” according to Big Think.
He found that the microbe produces electrically conductive protein nanowires, and his lab recently developed a new Geobacter strain that could produce them more rapidly and inexpensively. Lovely worked together with electrical engineer Jun Yao, also of UMass Amherst, to create a device they call “ air-gen”, creating “electricity out of thin air.” The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7. “It’s the most amazing and exciting application of protein nanowires yet,” he’s quoted saying in BigThink.