There’s enough power in trees to run an electronic circuit, says a new study.
A study last year led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that plants generate up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil.
University of Washington (UW) associate professor of electrical engineering and study co-author have since started a company developing forest sensors that exploit this new power source. The UW team sought to do further academic research in the field of tree power by building circuits to run off that energy. They successfully ran a circuit solely off tree power for the first time.
Tree power could provide a low-cost option for powering tree sensors that might be used to detect environmental conditions or forest fires. The electronic output could also be used to gauge a tree’s health.
These results are slated for publication in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Transactions on Nanotechnology.