Plant Power: Dutch Company Harvests Electricity From Living Plants

By: | January 29th, 2015

Plant-e, a start-up company in the Netherlands, has discovered new technology to harvest electricity from plants without damaging them. The company used this electricity to power cell phone chargers, Wi-Fi hotspots and even illuminated over 300 LED streetlights near Amsterdam in their new energy project called “Starry Sky.”

How They Made It Possible

The electricity generation process involves growing plants in two-square-foot plastic containers. When the plants prepare their food by the process of photosynthesis, plants convert sunlight, air, and water into sugars. Only part of the sugar produced is used by the plants, and a lot of it is discharged into the soil as waste. When this waste breaks down, electrons and protons are released. Plant-e’s system captures these electrons in a carbon electrode and thus generates electricity.

Discovery Could Mark the Dawn of the Next Revolution in Renewable Energy

Worldwide, over 1 billion people have no access to electricity at all. Company founders of Plant-e are hopeful that their technology will one day be used to provide power to these people who have never had it.

There are many areas of the world where plant life is abundant, such as in rice paddies or near wetlands, but people there are poor and have no access to electricity. This technology can prove to be a blessing in the future.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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