When you think of solar collection, plants are some of the most efficient of creations. Naturally photosynthetic, plants maximize the solar energy collected in order to develop and grow. What would happen if humankind was to increase the capabilities of a plant by 30-percent due to nanoparticles? Scientists have already began bridging the gap to creating bionic greenery. The researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that a plant can convert a great amount of energy using carbon nanotubes within the leaves.
Improving Crops – As nanoparticles increase the amount of energy the plant can create, this technology poses a realistic capability to increase crop yields without using hazardous chemicals. As the leaves the plant are the only area where nanotubes can be placed, fruits and vegetables wouldn’t be affected themselves directly. Instead, the plant could essentially increase productivity due to more efficient energy collection and usage. This means that crops could yield high results without using poisonous and harmful compounds.
Fuel Cell Production – Chemical fuel production of glucose is one of the goals that scientists are hoping to further develop. With an increase of energy usage, it’s theorized that there would be an increase of sugar production within the plant. In 2012, researches at MIT created a glucose fuel cell to power medical implants such as brain-to-computer interfaces. There are also many uses for glucose fuel cells and plants producing an extra amount of the source could lead to other discoveries and developments.
Algae Biofuels – Glucose fuel cells are not the only method of power that can be derived from a bionic plant. The development of this increase could lead to further development of algae biofuels. Currently, scientists are working to make algae a more commercially viable source of food and energy. In the last decade, many biofuels have been experimented with in order to develop a commercially sound solution. If humankind can increase the plant’s abilities through nanoparticles, algae biofuels could become the way of the future. Instead of drilling for oil and further putting oceans and marine life at risk from being covered by the black sludge every few years, algae could become the norm. However, it is doubtful that you’ll be able to pick up a handful of the plant and cram it down into your fuel tank.
Solar Plants Instead of Panels? – Instead of solar panels adorning the rooftops of homes and businesses, treated bionic plants could become humankind’s solar collector for energy. This could mean that living green can take on a whole new meaning. Plants that can convert light into energy for itself and the home would be incredibly valuable. While you may not have to plug your lamp into the rose bush, nano-technology could create a membrane that interfaces between the plant and a power receptacle outside in the garden for energy collection. However, that may just be the science-fiction version of innovative design.
Although it may be quite a long time before we plug interfaces into the fern hanging in the window to browse the Internet, humanity is on the cusp of developing further understanding of how capable plants are to maintaining our species. It is further evidence that all life on this planet share common genetic development and are symbiotic of each other. As technology continues to advance, we become more of a species that can sustain itself for an improved future outlook.
Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in Houston, Texas, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.