Crank It Up! This Radio is Powered by a Crop of Moss.

By: | May 8th, 2014

We all know that soothing music has a profound impact on the growth of plants. A group of scientists from the University of Cambridge has harvested moss-grown electricity to power a FM radio. They say it’s the world’s first radio powered by moss. It is also the first functional moss-powered object that requires more electricity than an LCD.

The plants act as biological solar panels. The researchers developed Photo Microbial Fuel Cells (Photo-MFCs) to capture and harness the electrical power of plants. The Photo-MFCs consist of three parts:

  • Anode where the electrons generated by photosynthesis are collected
  • Cathode where the electrons are finally consumed
  • External circuit connecting the anode to the cathode.

About Moss FM

Moss FM consists of ten pots of moss, arranged to form a Photo Microbial Fuel Cell (Photo-MFC), which captures electrons generated during photosynthesis and converts them into electricity, even in the absence of light. These can be connected in parallel, series, or in combination, depending on the performance of each single cell.

The energy generated from this process is stored in the battery. So far, Moss FM captures only about 0.1% of electrons produced during photosynthesis. This much energy can run the radio’s speaker and tuner only for a couple of minutes. But the researchers foresee that this can be improved upon with further research and development.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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