‘Plant Power’ Pulls Electricity from Rice Fields

The revolutionary system can harvest energy from living plants for use in isolated villages,Image: Plant-e

The revolutionary system can harvest energy from living plants for use in isolated villages.
Image: Plant-e

A revolutionary system with the potential to affect global energy harvesting has recently been developed by a company called Plant-e. The system generates electricity from water-logged plants such as rice grown in patty fields to collect and distribute energy to all areas, even desolate villages.

“It’s based on the principle that plants produce more energy than they need,” said Marjolein Helder, co-founder of Plant-e. “The advantage of this system over wind or solar is that it also works at night and when there’s no wind.”

The science behind the Plant-e technology was conceptualized at Wageningen University in 2007, with the company’s establishment happening thereafter in 2009.

Simply find a plant growing in water and the Plant-e system can begin to harvest energy—whether that plant be rice growing in paddies or simply something growing in your garden.

“It’s just the beginning and lots of things still need to be greatly improved, but the potential is enormous,” said Jacqueline Cramer, professor of sustainable innovation at Utrecht University and former Dutch environment minister.

This from The Jakarta Post:

The technology harnesses the excess organic matter produced by the plant during photosynthesis, which is expelled through the plants roots and consumed by micro-organisms. That consumption frees up electrons, which can then be harvested by placing carbon electrodes close to the roots to generate electricity.

Read the full article here.

The system is still under development, but researchers hope that efficiency levels will go up and the price point will go down in the upcoming years.

Glasgow_blog_imageCheck out other cutting-edge innovations in energy harvesting at the ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV.

This major international conference will be held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow and will serve as a major forum for the discussion of interdisciplinary research from around the world through a variety of formats, such as invited and keynote oral presentations, poster sessions, short courses, guest and award winning lecturers, a dynamic technical exhibit, and much more.

Early-Bird Deadline: June 15
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