Atmospheric lamp harvests its energy from plants

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We have seen several ideas that combine living plants with sustainability, such as a plant wall that filters air and a forest city that combats air pollution. Now, Dutch designer Ermi van Oers has created a lamp that uses a living plant to generate its own electricity. The lamp, dubbed the Living Light, is made of a plant encased in a glass tube. As the plant undergoes photosynthesis, it releases organic compounds into the soil. This material is then broken down by bacteria to create a microbial fuel cell – a system in which electrons are transferred from the bacteria to an anode. From there, the electrons are transferred along a wire to the cathode. This flow of electrons is similar to that in a battery and is used to power LEDs, which light up when a user touches the plant’s leaves. Similar microbial fuel cells are already in use in wastewater treatment, but this may be the first time they have been used to provide light.

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