Categories: Go Green,Tech

The Power of Plants

Do you remember the episode of The Big Bang Theory where Professor Proton taught Penny that Potatoes can be used to generate electricity, well theory is hitting closer to home than you could have ever imagined. In a couple of months we will be able to charge our smartphones using plants!

Bioo Lite
Bioo Lite

Instead of using 800 potatoes or apples to generate a charge, like Microsoft did with a Lumia device, a Barcelona-based company Arkyne Technologies has managed to use a single plant.

Bioo Lite, is the name of this amazing little invention that Arkyne Technologies will be selling soon, the Bioo Lite harnesses the photosynthesis of plants and converts the power into energy that can charge your phone.

In all fairness, it’s not quite as simple as sticking a USB cable into soil and hoping for the best. Beneath the plant, at the bottom of the pot, sits two smaller pots of bacteria that react with the water. Once your plant starts converting sunlight into energy, the compounds created in the soil trickle through a semipermeable membrane converting the bacteria pots.

The bacteria then feeds on the compounds creating electrons that are gathered by a nanowire network. Those electrons are stored in a battery, also situated at the bottom of the pot, which is connected to a USB cable you keep on the surface.

Quite a scientific process to simply charge a smartphone, but it is an idea scientists have been playing with for several years. The horticulture hackers who created the Bioo Lite claim that the pot allows you to charge up to three times per day. The plant generates power during the day and night, so users can charge their phones anytime.

In terms of the speed of the charge, the output is 3.5 volts which is roughly equivalent to the power that comes out of a USB port on a computer. The amount of charge also depends on the type of plant living inside the Bioo Lite. Not all plants produce the same amount of electricity, so Cacti aren’t recommended. Bioo Lite will only work while the plant is alive, so taking care of the plant is crucial. If you kill your little green friend, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.

Arkyne Technologies plan to start shipping the Bioo Lite in December 2016. It is expected that the Bioo Lite will cost around US$ 112.00, which is quite a bit for a charger that you need to keep alive, but just link about the electricity savings that can be made, especially since we all know that today’s modern smartphones are only upgraded versions of a cordless telephone that constantly needs to be charged. You should also not forget the benefits a simple pot plant has on your health.

So the Bioo Lite has more to it than simply being a smartphone charger and is definitely an idea that should be supported. Just imagine all the benefits if we could power cities with plants.

What do you think?

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