Researchers at Linköping University develop method for inserting conductive polymers into plants, making them capable of forming electric circuits.
We’ve covered how waste from coffee beans can be used as a source of green energy, but now a team at Linköping University in Sweden have developed a method that could transform plants themselves into a living source of energy.
The Laboratory for Organic Electronics team developed a soluble semi-conductive polymer that was taken up by rose plants. Using this polymer, the researchers were able to complete a circuit using the plants’ own cellular electrochemical mechanisms for transporting ions and electrons between cells. This could allow engineers to hijack plants’ cellular signals, either to exert control over plant growth and behavior, or to use the energy generated by photosynthesis as a source of energy.
While no technical applications have yet been manufactured, this discovery could have enormous potential. Could living plants create the next generation of green energy?