generates electricity from living plants

Netherlands-based Plant-e is an emerging player in clean and sustainable energy technology. Founded in 2009 as a spin-off from a research department at Wageningen University, the company aims to develop and implement a breakthrough, patented technology that involves using living plants to generate electricity.

here some basic ideas –

The concept is simple – photosynthesis.

Like any other living organisms, plants use energy to fuel their day-to-day biological activities. Photosynthesis is a process used by most plants and other organisms to convert light energy to chemical energy before storing it in bonds of sugar.

Plants, however, produce more sugars than they need as they grow and they excrete the excess through their roots. Spare sugars end up in the surrounding soil and occurring microorganisms use them to gain energy.

As microorganisms break down the excess sugars, they release electrons as waste product. This is where Plant-e technology enters the picture.

By placing an electrode in the soil, released electrons are able to flow, thus making them available for harvest as electricity.

Series of tests conducted by the company revealed plant growth is not affected in the entire process. This means that as plants continue its natural biological processes, electricity generation becomes almost incessant.

its efficiency –

Plant-e has already applied their technology in numerous test centres. The rooftop of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology building at Wageningen University is the first pilot testing center that includes a modular system of 15 sq. mi. Accordingly, the first “green electricity roof” has the capacity to generate enough power to charge a mobile phone.

The company is planning to expand the generating capacity of its green electricity roof. As mentioned, a full-blown modular system should be enough to power half of the electricity requirement of a standard household.

ohfarm perspective –

  • from ohfarm system perspective, the growth bed is where the e can be harvested as the vegetables grow;
  • in ohfarm system where the growth bed is replaced by the liquid medium, this should be further studied;
  • in aero-growth system, this shoudl be further studied;

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《generates electricity from living plants》有4个想法

  1. conceptual understanding of the design –
    1. plant is the panel to receive sunshine
    2. growth bed is the medium to collect the knock-off electrons from the plant panels

    energy wise –
    1. part of the energy is used to power the plant growth
    2. part of the energy goes into the medium to be harvested
    3. part of the energy needs to power the eco-system in the growth medium that is necessary for the plant healthy growht

  2. critical question – why we need this system given we have solar panel to harvest energy directly from sun, which should be more efficient over the long run?