Plants provide power

Planten op het groene dak van NIOO-KNAW

Plants provide power

Need a place to recharge your phone? Our roof features 25 m2 of energy-producing green!


How 'green' can energy be? Plant power makes use of sunlight, which won't run out for a while yet. And it's clean, too!


Plant-e is a young company that develops products in which electricity is generated using living plants. Plants convert light energy into organic matter - a process known as photosynthesis. Part of this matter is used by the plant for its own growth, but the remainder is excreted into the soil via the roots. As bacteria in the soil break down the organic matter, electrons are released. The bacteria can 'feed' these electrons to electrodes (separated into anodes and cathodes), and this allows us to produce electricity.

25 m2 of energy-producing green roof has been installed on the roof of the main building. That's enough to drive a pump that will keep water levels on the roof constant during dry periods. During wet periods, the plant power can be used for other purposes: looking for a place to recharge your mobile phone, anyone?