Dutch company uses plants to power streetlights and mobile devices
A Dutch company found a way to harvest electricity coming from the most unlikely of sources: plants.
According to Yes Magazine and followed-up by Inquisitr, the Dutch company known as Plant-e initially introduced their new energy project, known as “Starry Sky,” at a demonstration in Hembrug, Netherlands. In it, they were able to power 300 LED lights, a truly marvelous show for anyone in attendance.
The unique part of this project is that the harvested electricity didn’t come from conventional or even traditional green energy sources — it was harvested from living plants.
Marjolein Helder, the co-founder and CEO of Plant-e, believes that the aforementioned method of harvesting electricity can be revolutionary. Using plants to generate clean energy provides an option on the table that has little to no impact on the environment, and may save consumers up to millions as a whole if implemented correctly into society.
Yet, Helder understands to achieve such big dreams, one must take initial steps. For Plant-e, that is done not only through providing light, but by selling Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile chargers, and rooftop electricity modules, all fueled by living plants.
Apparently, the idea for using plants and photosynthesis to extract energy is an old one. Until now, such endeavors have been delegated to middle school projects, mostly in the form of clocks being powered by potatoes. Jim McGowan provided a graphic that gives a general summary of how this is done.
Though such an endeavor is novel, at this moment, it isn’t reliable as a commercial product. Ramaraja Ramasamy, an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia College of Engineering, explains that Plant-e utilizes sediment microbial fuel cells, a method that isn’t advanced enough to compete with more established green technology like solar panels and wind turbines. Also, it is fairly new, thus the research is quite limited.
In conclusion, Plant-e’s way of providing power through plants is interesting but not practical to use, especially in the United States and Japan, countries that use a monumental amount of electricity. Presently, Plant-e and other green technology companies like them are researching if it is possible to get around this situation.
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