Could the New Solar Panel be a Plant?
Could the next best solar panel really be a plant? As it turns out, this could be true. Earlier this year, Huffington Post reported on a Barcelona-based firm called Arkyne Technologies that created a pot called Bioo Lite that harnesses the energy produced by photosynthesis and then transforms it into electricity. The tech experts from Digital Trends also reported on the Bioo Lite pot citing that scientists have been researching this idea for a number of years.
This new invention is expected to hit the market in late 2016. Before it’s introduced to popular society, here are answers to some of the questions circling around this new technology.
How Does it Solar Panel Work?
Even though you probably learned about photosynthesis in school, it’s OK if you need a refresher. Simply put, photosynthesis is the process in which natural sunlight is used to turn carbon dioxide and water into organic compounds and oxygen.
In this case, the bacteria in the Bioo Lite pot breaks up the compounds and releases electrons that travel across nanowires. The result is electricity that powers a typical USB port, allowing you to plug in your device or phone. Arkyne Technologies claims that Bioo Lite can provide three charges each day. Even though it may seem like it can only work when the sun is out, Arkyne states that the plant and pot generate power during the daytime and nighttime, which means you can charge your devices anytime.
What Type of Devices Charge Best?
The Bioo Lite pot can be used to charge a wide range of devices, but the charging capabilities largely depend on the device’s battery capacity. Arkyne Technologies explains that charging your device with the Bioo Lite charger can be compared to charging up your phone via your computer. Smartphones with long-lasting batteries are key. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 offers 28 hours of talk time and an incredible 12 days of standby. And even though the 3.5 volt output 500 milliamps is less than many of the standard USB ports on the market, this is by far one of the greenest ways to power up your devices.
Does Bioo Lite use a Real Plant?
Yes, the Bio Lite pot requires a living plant to work and produce electricity. Not all plants produce the same amount of energy, though. For example, cacti are not recommended because they do not produce a lot of energy compared to other plants. The charging pot only works while the plant inside is alive, so you have to take care of it or replace it with a new one.
Bioo Lite proves that people can already harness the power of plants on a small scale. For the future, it is likely safe to assume that you can expect to see this type of plant-powered technology used on a much larger scale as a means to produce cleaner energy and electricity that can be used to power modern day society.