A Spanish startup's new biological battery uses microorganisms to generate electricity from the soil
Spotted: Spanish startup Bioo is developing a biological battery powered by the earth beneath our feet. The company’s 24-year-old founder, Pablo Vidarte, came up with the idea in a dream where the leaves of a plant were used as a solar panel, and he is now working to turn his dream into a reality.
The battery is in the form of an enclosed panel embedded in the ground. The panel contains microorganisms that feed on organic matter. The activity of the microorganisms produces electrons and protons, which are sent to the anode and cathode of the battery, respectively. Holes in the battery allows oxygen to enter, and the entire process produces a current that can power lights and sensors. If scaled up, Vidarte believes it could be possible to power an entire house this way.
The company expects the batteries to be initially used on farms to power sensors collecting data on soil pH, humidity and carbon storage. Eventually, larger panels could be used to power lighting in parks and other public spaces. One limit is the need for the soil to be moist, although the batteries can produce energy 24/7, and do not take up space above ground, unlike solar panels.
Says Vidarte: “You have an energy source that’s producing electricity during daytime and night-time. So, it’s 24-7 production of energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing, it will produce the same amount of energy.”
No single solution will provide all the answers to sustainable energy. It’s going to take a variety of different solutions working together. Biological batteries could be a part of this solution, along with other innovations covered at Springwise, like bricks that can store energy and vertical solar farming.
Written By: Lisa Magloff