This Dutch start-up has developed a way to use living plants as a continuous source of clean energy.
Here’s another development worthy of applause: A Dutch start-up has developed a way to use living plants as a continuous source of clean energy – all that is needed is a light source, carbon dioxide, water, and a field or patch of plants.
As shared in the video above, the system works best in wetlands or watery fields like rice paddies. Also, it doesn’t matter if the water is brackish or polluted. This means that areas unsuitable for growing crops could be repurposed as a power source.
How does it work?
Based on natural processes, electrons are harvested from the soil and electricity is produced while plants continue to grow! It might sound too good to be true, but it absolutely is not.
As Next Nature shares, the theory behind the Plant-e system is simple. When a plant creates food using photosynthesis, a large portion of the organic matter generated is actually excreted by the roots into the soil. That same organic matter then gets consumed by microorganisms living in the soil, which release electrons as a byproduct of this consumption. By placing an electrode near the roots, it then becomes easy to harvest this waste energy and turn it into electricity.
In addition, the plants are left unharmed during the entire process. In fact, tests show that the plants will continue to grow normally in the presence of electrodes, providing a constant source of power day and night. Combined with lamps powered by salt water, off-grid locations may have access to sustainable energy sooner than predicted!
At present, a prototype green roof utilizing this technology is already being developed and tested in the Netherlands. If all goes well, the Plant-e team hopes to utilize this system to harvest a significant amount of energy – maybe even enough to power a house. At present, they have been able to use the technology to generate enough energy to power a cell phone – but time will no doubt allow the company to perfect its process.
The amount of renewable energy sources being developed is astonishing; perhaps very soon in the near future technologies like solar and wind power may be merged with a system like this, completely eliminating humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels.
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