Every once in a while a story tweaks the old imagination juices. The latest is the November 23, 2012 article seen in ScienceDaily, Electricity from the Marshes, about a fuel cell that extracts electricity from wetland soils.
Researchers have developed a way to harness the electrons released when bacteria break down the organic residue plants produce during photosynthesis. An electrode absorbs these electrons to generate electricity. Currently, the Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell can generate 0.4Watts per square meter (about 10.76 square feet) of wetland plants.
Just think about this for a moment.
Once developed, the researchers suggest a rooftop planting measuring 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) could generate enough electricity to supply a household consuming 2,800 kWh/year.
Will marshlands become the electricity generating regions for shoreline communities?
Will flat urban rooftops contain gardens not just to save energy through reduced heat absorption, but to create energy?
Granted, the technology is still in development. More will be learned from the first roof installation of an electricity-generating marsh at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.
This research will be interesting to follow.
Plants as electricity producers … just think of the possibilities.