paul has a new video  

 



visit the thread.

see the DVDs.

  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Turning Plants Into Circuits: Could we use photosynthesis to produce electricity?  RSS feed

 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
books forest garden wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just came across this incredible study in which they inserted polymers into plants and were able to create circuits withing living plants. The possibilities of this seem extremely cool. Just thought y'all would be interested and I would love to hear what people think. These are the detailed results of the published study.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 401
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
3
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can put one probe of a multimeter into a stalk and the other into the soil. You will see a voltage due to the difference in pH between the plant and soil. There are low voltage wifi equipped monitoring devices installed in forests that are powered by trees.
 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
books forest garden wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve Farmer wrote:You can put one probe of a multimeter into a stalk and the other into the soil. You will see a voltage due to the difference in pH between the plant and soil. There are low voltage wifi equipped monitoring devices installed in forests that are powered by trees.


Ya I've heard of these kinds of systems there is also an led lamp. Quite amazing that without changing the plant you can already get small amounts of energy from them. What I think would be a really incredible out come from these circuits is an end to deforestation. I think if you could get significant amounts of energy from a forest than there would be a bigger long term monetary incentive for governments and corporations to not cut all the trees down.
 
Steve Farmer
Posts: 401
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
3
forest garden greening the desert trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trouble is how to up the voltage to something useful. If you consider the plant and the soil as one cell of a battery, a second cell in series would have its soil side at the same earth potential as the first cell so wouldn't work. You can put them in series if they are in separate pots. You also need to be careful not to destroy the plant as you are causing electrons to move opposite to the direction they are moving by nature and thus altering the pH of both the plant and the soil. A big tree with a small device is OK but if you try to maximise the effect you will kill the plant.
 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
books forest garden wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve Farmer wrote:Trouble is how to up the voltage to something useful. If you consider the plant and the soil as one cell of a battery, a second cell in series would have its soil side at the same earth potential as the first cell so wouldn't work. You can put them in series if they are in separate pots. You also need to be careful not to destroy the plant as you are causing electrons to move opposite to the direction they are moving by nature and thus altering the pH of both the plant and the soil. A big tree with a small device is OK but if you try to maximise the effect you will kill the plant.


Interesting point could you explain your reasons (in regard to this specific study) for thinking it would affect the acidity of the soil?. My understanding of this study is that you can create different kinds of analog and digital circuits within the plant and use energy created by every different system in the plant. Considering that 4 people were able to get this far in just 2 years of research I would imagine that the possibilities of this technology have a far larger potential than whats been discovered so far...
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 579
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2015/11/utec_generates_electricity_for_rainforest_villages_from_plants_and_dirt.html

seems like they're using this now to power functional LED's to help people whose grid went down.
 
Isaac Smeele
Posts: 37
Location: British Columbia, Canada
books forest garden wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I actually metioned the led light above. Funny enough thats actually a completely different method that uses the interaction between the bacteria in the soil and the plant. In the study from my original post they have created analog and digital circuits inside of living plant stems and leaves using a new polymer that integrates into the plants own systems. Both of these new discoveries are just so incredible. I'm so excited to see what the future holds for these technologies.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 579
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
20
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cool! The video wouldn't load for me so I haven't watched, but it sounds like they use up a plant (kill one plant) for every 2 hours of electricity, I would think there could be a better way (use up a small amount of one plant, whatever amount it has in surplus, and then switch power supplies to a second or third plant).

But this is really a wonderfully democratizing thing--light at night! I'm gonna put this on the cross-index thread. I was hoping for something for light specifically!

 
Oh. Hi guys! Look at this tiny ad:
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23444/digital-market/digital-market/Earth-Sheltered-Solar-Greenhouse-Book
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!