New, clean energy source: Living plants

Saturday, December 01, 2012 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: clean energy, plants, photosynthesis

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
BOMBSHELL: China and America already at war: Tianjin explosion carried out by Pentagon space weapon in retaliation for Yuan currency devaluation... Military helicopters now patrolling Beijing
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
GMO crops totally banned in Russia... powerful nation blocks Monsanto's agricultural imperialism and mass poisoning of the population
SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision may have just legalized the concealed carry of loaded firearms across all 50 states, nullifying gun laws everywhere
Nearly every mass shooting in the last 20 years shares one surprising thing? and it's not guns
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Holistic cancer treatment pioneer Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez dies suddenly; patients mourn the loss of a compassionate, innovative doctor who helped thousands heal from cancer
Pepsi drops aspartame from diet soda as consumers reject toxic sweetener
Bride of Frankenfood: Hillary Clinton pushes GMO agenda... hires Monsanto lobbyist... takes huge dollars from Monsanto
STATINS RED ALERT: Widely prescribed drugs act as cellular poisons that accelerate aging... deactivate DNA repair... promote diabetes, muscle fatigue and memory loss
Wild eyes and bowl cuts: Why do mass shooters always share the same hair styles and crazed zombie stares?
Mind control through emotional domination: How we're all being manipulated by the "crisis of the NOW"
(NaturalNews) On November 23, a researcher from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Marjolein Helder, presented her Ph.D. research on a method to generate clean, renewable electricity from natural interactions between the soil and growing plants.

Plants produce such enormous quantities of organic material from photosynthesis that they actually excrete 70 percent of it, unused, into the soil by their roots. This provides important nutrients for bacteria and other soil organisms. When bacteria metabolize this organic matter, they release electrons into the soil. The premise of the Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell is that electrodes placed close to the roots of plants can absorb these electrons and use them to generate electricity, much like a battery.

Helder's tests indicate that the Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell can generate 0.4 W of electricity per square meter of vegetated area, more than biomass fermentation is currently capable of. Through further refinement of the technique, Helder predicts that its power generating capacity could rise as high as 3.2 W per square meter. This level of power generation would enable the average household to be supplied entirely from the power generated by grass planted on a 100 square-meter roof.

A future global energy source?

According to Helder, much of the technique's potential lies in its adaptability. Various species of plants have high electric generating potential, including many grasses and even rice. The system should also scale up effectively, thereby converting marshlands into critical sites for power generation. Helder predicts that the system will be widely deployed on rooftops within a few years, and that large-scale generation will be implemented by 2016. Due to their low cost, the systems could already be economically competitive with solar panels in remote regions, even at their current capacity.

Helder also researched the social and environmental implications of the technology, concluding that it is more promising than other non-fossil fuel sources. Unlike nuclear power or hydroelectric dams, the system should have no negative effects on natural systems. In contrast to biofuels, it would not encourage habitat destruction or the removal of agricultural lands from food production. And unlike solar panels or wind turbines, the system would be visually appealing, rather than an eyesore.

If the system is widely adopted enough to turn wetlands into a power source, that alone could provide another benefit. According to a research summary just published by University of Gothenburg, in Sweden and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, drained wetlands account for the same percentage of Sweden's greenhouse gas emissions as all of its industries combined.

Research is ongoing on ways to increase the Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell system's capacity, and to verify the best methods for making it both sustainable and renewable. Optimum electrode placement, for example, could decrease material use by two thirds.

Researcher Bert Hamelers was the first to suggest the potential of a Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell, and the first tests were carried out by researcher David Strik. Strik and Helder have since founded a spin-off company to commercialize the system.

Sources for this article include:

Follow real-time breaking news headlines on
Clean energy at
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.