Do you want to use your plant on the windowsill to charge your toaster?
Or grow flowers on the roof to power the house?
The Dutch company Plant-e develops and produces products in which living plants generate electricity. Many company harness energy by destroying plants but this company harness electricity from living growing plants. The electricity that can be generated without harming the plant is surprisingly substantial.
A range of products have been developed: charging stations for your mobile phone,Wifi-hotspot in a public environment, a green roof that produces electricity to your home, and a green roundabout. There is also a DIY-box for educational purposes which sounds like a great idea to encourage school-children to understand how plant energy works. And in a project called “Starry night” over 300 LED streetlights in the Netherlands were powered by native aquatic plants.
Overall, the technology and approach to use photosynthesis, turning solar power into sugars, have enormous potential to provide energy in poorer areas. Rice growers could use the excess sugars that plants produce clean energy. The excess sugars are distributed through the roots of the plants into the surrounding soil. There they are broken down into protons and electrons, which can be used to conduct electricity.
At the moment this technology is under development to make it more commercial so that it can compete with solutions based upon solar and wind energy. Plants stop growing in some climates when it gets cold, so at the moment this solution works better in some parts of the world.
Looking forward to watching my plants grow even more!