U.S. Navy Files Patent for Ships Powered by Bacteria Farts

Jake Rossen
IStock / IStock

Scientists have been attempting to harness the power of farts for some time now. There have been experiments with automobiles that run on compressed methane gas extracted from human poop, buses that propel themselves along while powered by cow poop, and a novelty motorcycle that runs on biogas from manure. These attempts may be fleeting, but the Navy is looking to get serious about fart fuel.

According to Vocativ, the Navy is in the process of patenting a "Bacteria-based Gas Generator." In its simplest terms, it’s a device that will allow vessels to be powered by the tiny blasts from bacteria. 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [PDF]

A pressure chamber will house a high concentration of germs that will be fed so they produce methane, hydrogen, or carbon dioxide. (Different bacteria produce different gases.) The chamber then becomes so pressurized with microorganism blasts that it can be used as a ballast tank for vessels, as backup power, or as propulsion for tiny vehicles.

There’s been no announcement on when the prototype toot testing might begin.

[h/t Vocativ]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.