Plant-e, a Dutch company, is developing a revolutionary new system for harvesting sustainable electricity from growing plants. The patented pilot scheme already has a green electricity roof in The Netherlands, which develops enough electricity to charge a phone.
As plants photosynthesise, some of the organic matter generated is secreted into the root zone. The organic matter is then consumed by soil micro-organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, which release electrons as a by-product. If the roots are growing in enough water, electrodes placed nearby can harvest those electrons and generate tiny amounts of electricity. All from sunlight, water, CO2 and plant power.
In August 2015, Plant-e received a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award.