Plant-e Electricity Re-defines Green!

Plant-e electricity being harvested from plants
Plant-e electricity being harvested from plants

A scientist harvests electricity directly from plants.


We spend a lot of time blogging about treehouses, which is fun and awesome.  This time, though, I want to take a moment to talk about the power of nature, which gives us trees to build houses in.

I came across this very interesting article on page 9 of the February edition of The New Agora (a local Vancouver independent newspaper).  The title, “Researches Discover How to Use Living Plants to Generate Usable Electricity”, certainly grabbed my attention.  Intrigued, I read on.

It turns out that a Dutch company called Plant-e has invented a remarkable form of electricity extraction from plants.  Unlike solar electricity, which harvests photons from sunlight and converts them to energy for powering human-made devices, Plant-e has hit upon a way of using photosynthetic energy produced by plants and converting into collectable electricity.  Here’s how it works.

During photosynthesis, plants produce twice the energy that they need.  What they don’t consume, they expel through their roots to feed nearby microorganisms which exchange this energy for elements plants need for health.  This symbiotic relationship produces electrons which can be harvested by metal rods inserted in the plant’s root system.

This exciting Plant-e electricity technology sidesteps many of the shortcomings of solar power.  In Vancouver, for instance, cloud cover for much of the year prevents solar energy from being maximized.  Likewise, solar panels can only collect energy during the day, limiting power collection to between a third and two thirds of the time.  Plant-e electricty, on the other hand, syphons energy 24 hours a day, rain or shine!

So, next time you’re communing with nature, hanging out in or dreaming about a treehouse, remember the phenomenal power of nature to not only entrance us, feed us, clothe us, and provide the very air we breathe, but also to provide electricity to power our homes.  Who knows…thanks to Plant-e electricity, one day you may find yourself hooking your power saw up to the roots of the tree you’re building a treehouse in!

Check out the amazing technology in this Plant-e electricity video.  I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.

P.S.: It’s spring, which means it’s the beginning of treehouse-building season…Just saying : )