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Researchers transform plants into natural power plants

Researchers have found out how plants can be used naturally as a kind of bio-solar cell. The approach uses the photosynthesis process, in which plants convert light energy into chemical energy, to generate electricity.

In recent years, the generation of electricity from sustainable energy sources has become increasingly important. However, our climate goals seem unattainable, even though the share of renewable energies is constantly increasing.

Researchers have therefore now developed a method with which many plants can be transformed into bio-solar cells. The basis for this is the process of photosynthesis, in which plants use sunlight to convert CO2 into oxygen and sugar.

Electrons move through the organism, creating a flow similar to that in solar cells. The researchers took advantage of this and developed a method to convert this flow of electrons into electricity.

Bio-solar cell: Researchers develop plant power plant

To do this, they used a succulent plant that mainly occurs in dry areas. It has relatively thick leaves that store water and nutrients. To convert the flow of electrons into electricity, the scientists inserted an iron anode and a platinum cathode into one of the sheets and then measured the voltage.

A single sheet delivered a voltage of up to 0.28 volts. A classic battery does more. However, if you consider that this is only one sheet, the potential does not seem to have been exhausted yet. The researchers are therefore now investigating whether several blades can be connected in series.

Research is still in its infancy

As a result, plants could act as natural power plants and advance the energy transition, at least on a small scale. However, it will probably take a while before we get there, as research is still in its infancy.

In addition, potential risks for the plants must be investigated. However, if the succulent studied can carry out photosynthesis and generate electricity at the same time, nature could revolutionize the future of our energy supply.

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