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Published on : Apr 28, 2015

The company Plant-e based in Netherland is experimenting with an innovative idea. The company is involved in collecting excess energy from the process photosynthesis carried out by plants. To harvest this energy they are placing conductors under the soil layers below the plants.

Though this idea might look like a surreal one, but researchers are figuring out ways to tap into the power of the process of photosynthesis to produce at least minor amounts of electricity.

However, it turns out that plants are more than capable than they need to do, as they tend to disperse out the excess energy which humans can collect and harvest. Though this experiment might not be able to produce megawatts from plants it might still have practical applications in the future.

The researchers based at the Wageningen University initially patented the process of collecting power from plants in the year 2007 and currently these patents are in the hands of a Netherland company that is called Plant-e. This firm is trying hard to productize on the photosynthesis process to make the innovation work.

So what happens under the layer of the soil is this. The process of photosynthesis is carried out by plants leaves absorbing the light from sun and blending its energy with the carbon dioxide and water to create sugar which is the food of the plant. What’s more interesting is that these plants tend to make too much and the excess is dispersed. Half of this food gets dispersed in the soil. And once the bacterial break it down it becomes sugars which results in byproducts such as protons and electrons. 

The company project inserts a conductor into the soil to collect these electrons which can be transformed into electricity. According to the company, this process does not disturb the growth of the plants.