Researchers turned a bean plant into a battery

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Plant roots can be used as batteries

Plants can now act like batteries, yes this is no joke and this was proven when researchers at the Organic Electronics Laboratory at Linköping University showed that by watering bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris ) with a solution containing conjugate oligomers, the roots of the plant become electrically conductive and can store energy this discovery has been published in the scientific journal Material horizons.

Many of us who have been fortunate enough to be educated may have witnessed potatoes and lemons produce electricity in science class.

However, imagine that plants can be used for store energy without any side effects is something completely new and has opened up a whole new line of research that we humans can venture into. This recent discovery was based on a research article published in 2015 by Dr Eleni Stavrinidou, Associate Professor and Principal Investigator in the Electronic Plants Group at the Organic Electronics Lab on how circuits can be fabricated in vascular tissue in roses.

Later she was also able to show how to build transistors for driving and storing electricity in plants using a conjugated oligomer, ETE-S which has been used to polymerize and build them naturally.

The roots of the bean plant remained electrically conductive for at least four weeks, with a conductivity of about 10 S / cm in the roots (Siemens by centimeter). The researchers investigated the possibility of storing energy in the roots and built a root-based supercapacitor in which the roots act as electrodes during charge and discharge.

Regarding the success of this experiment, Dr Stavrinidou told reporters “We have already worked with cuttings from plants, which were able to take and to organise conductive polymers or oligomers. However, plant cuttings can only survive for a few days, and the plant will no longer grow. In this new study, we use intact plants, a common bean grown from seeds, and we show that plants become electrically conductive when watered with a solution containing oligomers.

She also added that supercapacitors driving based polymers and cellulose are an environmentally friendly alternative for energy storage that is both cheap and scalable.

These root-based supercapacitors performed efficiently and could store 100 times more energy than previous tests with plant-based supercapacitors which used the stem of the plant. Because the bean plants in the studies continued to survive and grow, and only developed a more complex root system after being used as a battery unit.

New discoveries, especially in areas like these, that will help us decrease our carbon footprint in the world as a race are always something that should be welcomed with open arms and hailed as a great contribution to humanity as a whole.

Who knows maybe that thanks to this research, we could end up driving spaceships with big “Life“Trees as clean fuel suppliers instead of Toxic gas-produce liquids in the future.


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