Researchers at UTEC develop an electricity grid that harnesses energy produced by a growing plant to power lamps.
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After recently seeing the development of literal ‘power plants’, with circuits that use plants as organic generators, researchers at the University of Technology and Engineering in Peru present another example of organic energy production, which uses soil bacteria to power lamps.
The researchers developed an energy capture system that can power a lightbulb for two hours. The ‘plant lamp’ boxes contain electrodes buried within the soil, out of which a plant takes root. As the plant grows, it releases nutrients that bacteria in the soil metabolize, producing free electrons that are captured by the electrodes to power the lamps. In partnership with FCB, an advertising agency, ten prototype models have been produced for families living in the rainforest village of Nuevo Saposoa.
The plant lamp is another demonstration of the increasing use of organic engineering to provide alternative energy solutions. Who could the plant lamps be marketed to?