Planter that Charges Smartphones

Sustainability Problem

The natural resources that are currently used to create the majority of the world’s electricity are scarce and not clean. Renewable energy sources are needed not only because they will not run out but also because they are clean.

Technology Article

Bioo is the world’s first planter that can charge your smartphone  by Cat DiStasio on 4/29/2016. 

http://inhabitat.com/bioo-is-the-worlds-first-planter-that-can-charge-your-smart-phone/

  • A startup based in Barcelona has created a planter that harnesses the power of photosynthesis and uses it to charge electronic devices.
  • The planter is able to charge a device up to 2 to 3 times a day and produces electricity during the day and night (5.0v, 1.0A).
  • It looks like a simple, average sized planter pot and has a USB port disguised as a rock.
  • The planter is expensive, it costs $135, but the idea of creating electricity from plants is an interesting one.

Stakeholders

  • Arkyne Technologies
  • Consumers of the product
  • Consumers of electricity

Deployment

  • Make the planters available for commercial use. You can only pre-order now, the products are expected to be ready for use in December 2016.
  • Get the planters in stores so they can be made and sold on a larger scale.
  • Investigate using the technology on a larger scale to create larger amounts of electricity to power items other than USB port device (a Dutch company is currently doing this).

Other sources:

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2 thoughts on “Planter that Charges Smartphones

  1. Unlike other “energy from photosynthesis” technologies, this device does not capture energy by diverting energy from photosynthesis that would have gone to the plant, but rather it uses the by products of the plant’s photosynthesis. According to the video on the Bioo website, the bottom of the plant potter has a “binary biological cell” with a solid biomass layer and a biological micro-organism solution (i.e. bacteria) which activates when water is added. As the plant is watered and undergoes photosynthesis, the organic substances generated from the photosynthesis migrate downward to the cell where it feeds the bacteria. As the bacteria break up the waste, it releases electrons that travel through nano wires created by the bacteria. A secondary process generates water from excess hydrogen. The resulting current is driven towards and stored in the accumulator until a device is plugged into the USB for charging.

    This process is novel but raises questions around cost (can it be cheaper), scalability (can it create more energy with larger plants?) and reliability (can the mechanism fail if the bacteria die or become imbalanced with the other inputs?). The product is a great start for future studies of the potential of harvesting energy from photosynthesis.

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  2. I think that this is a really cool idea! My main question though, is: are we sure that there are no natural elements consuming the byproducts of the photosynthesis, like bacteria o parasites on plants? My knowledge in biochemistry is rather lacking.

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