Netherlands Company Harvests Clean Energy from Living Plants to Fuel Lights, Cell Phones, WiFi
Dutch company Plant-E has invented a way for electricity to be harvested from living plants with no damage to the environment. In fact, the system actually gives back by increasing the amount of beneficial plant life. The company, founded in 2009, was a spin-off of the department of Environmental Technology of Wageningen University.
In November 2014 Plant-E debuted their amazing project which they have donned “Starry Sky” around Amsterdam by powering 300+ public streetlights with their plant-powered technology in two different sites. Their company headquarters in Wageningen is entirely powered with their plant technology.
The mechanics of this exciting technology are described as such, “Via photosynthesis a plant produces organic matter. Part of this organic matter is used for plant-growth, but a large part can’t be used by the plant and is excreted into the soil via the roots. Around the roots naturally occurring micro-organisms break down the organic compounds to gain energy from. In this process, electrons are released as a waste product. By providing an electrode for the micro-organisms to donate their electrons to, the electrons can be harvested as electricity. Research has shown that plant-growth isn’t compromised by harvesting electricity, so plants keep on growing while electricity is concurrently produced.”