Plant Power: How Photosynthesis May Be the Next Big Thing in Energy

Plants providing solar energyWhile it may seem like technology out of a science-fiction film, plants may just be the next big thing in energy in the real world. Here is what we know about this new energy right now.

Photosynthesis 101

That week spent covering photosynthesis in middle school was a long, long time ago, so here’s a quick refresher of the basics. Photosynthesis is a process used by plants, certain bacteria and algae that harnesses the energy from sunlight and transforms it into a chemical energy. There are two types of photosynthesis, the most common being oxygenic photosynthesis and the other being anoxygenic photosynthesis. You may remember that oxygenic photosynthesis takes the carbon dioxide produced by all living things and then reintroduces oxygen into the atmosphere. There are a series of equations that could be listed here, but this explanation should be enough for now.

A Cutting-Edge, Plant-Powered Device Charger

Earlier this year the Tech Times reported on a new device charger called Bioo, citing it as a high-tech houseplant. Based on technology from Arkyne Technologies that is embedded in the plant and its pot, common houseplants are able to charge up a phone.

How? The biological elements that are expelled from the plant after photosynthesis are harnessed to create energy or a charge. With the simple additions of biological nanowires, a USB wire and an anaerobic chamber you have a plant that can charge a smartphone .

This new technology is self-regenerating, which, according to the Bioo team, makes the product an ideal piece of environment-friendly tech that can provide up to three charges per day. Additionally, the Bioo plant pot is built with sustainability in mind. It is designed for high-efficiency and is built to save users up to eight liters of water on a monthly basis.

Green Roofs, Plant Hotspots and More

In the Netherlands, plants are being used to power lights and cut back on energy consumption in homes. This innovative technology harnesses the breakdown of organic matter that is produced by plants and converts it into useable energy, just like the Bioo charger.

Plant-e, the company behind the technology in the Netherlands, has used and installed this plant technology in parks and public spaces, providing people access to energy that can power up devices and phones. It also is located in roundabouts that use the technology to power street lights. Plant-e uses one of the public parks as a hotspot that provides Wi-Fi to park goers. Right now the company mainly offers this energy to businesses, but they expect to roll out a consumer-friendly grass roof shortly.

Sounds all well and good, but how much green energy will be produced by these green roof grasslands? Enough to put a serious dent in electricity bills says Plant-e.

A 100m² grass roof will eventually be enough to cover the power needs of a typical Dutch household

What’s Next for Plant-Powered Energy?

Plant-powered tech is already in use across the globe, but it is still a new concept. Today, we can only hope that more developers and companies will continue to find ways to use plant energy. Judging by the interest in what is currently available, consumers will likely adopt the new eco-friendly technology. These eco-conscious choices about energy use and consumption are great for households, communities and the world.

Already green energy technology is spreading around the globe with various ingenious ways to produce green renewable energy.

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