This Company Is Building Tech That's Turning Plants Into Batteries

When you hear about technology that derives energy from plants, you likely imagine some sort of fuel produced via the destruction of those plants. That would have been true until recently, when a company called Plant-e introduced the first successful clean energy project that doesn't damage the living material that produces the power, according to Healthy Planet 365.

Though people have known for a long time that photosynthesis can produce usable energy, there hasn't been a way to create enough of it to power much more than a potato clock. Plant-e has made something called a “sediment microbial fuel cell," that allows photosynthesized sugars from plants to connect to power sources.

The Plant-e team

Posted by Plant-e on Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Zie je dit ook wel zitten? Investeer dan via kickstarter in Plant-e en een groenere toekomst! http://kck.st/1I39hxb

Posted by Plant-e on Friday, December 12, 2014

The carbon conductor is buried in the soil of the plant, where bacteria is breaking down excess sugar produced by the plant's photosynthesis process. Electrons created by the breakdown of those sugars then flow into the conductor, which are then extracted and harvested for power.

The main difficultly with this power source is scale. There are many places where such a model could be successful, because there is considerable plant life. But for a house in the U.S., which uses considerably more power than most places in the world, you'd need about 4,000 square feet of yard space for your Plant-e installation. 

In the Netherlands, where the Plant-e company is based, the average household needs considerably less. But there is a difficulty in cold climates, where the ground freezes. That halts the plant's life cycle and the power it produces.

But the founders are hoping that use of the technology will bring power to regions that have little to know access—but plenty of plants. 

NewsNew York To Invest $1.5 Billion In Renewable Energy Projects

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that New York was going to add 26 large-scale renewable energy projects over the next five years. 

4 days ago
NewsThis Electric Scooter Is The Latest Eco-Friendly Rideshare

California-based startup Bird is attempting to lead the electric scooter sharing industry just six months into operation. They've received $100 million in a second round of funding.

5 days ago
NewsNorway Is Planning An Entire Sustainable City At Oslo Airport

Oslo Airport created the first green terminal that received a high certification, and now they're looking to double down on helping the environment.

6 days ago
RenewablesGoodyear Floats Idea For Moss-Lined Tire That Absorbs Carbon Dioxide

This green tire would clean the air and power aspects of the car just by growing and rolling.

1 week ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our daily newsletter