Seems scientists at the University of Cambridge have happened upon a novel idea that may just change the face of renewable energy. But it starts small.
Using what they call “biophotovoltaic” fuel cells, the scientists have put moss to work in devices that harvest the energy produced by photosynthesis. Though the device actually relies on the symbiotic bacteria in the soil of each futuristic pot to produce energy. As the moss engages in photosynthesis, some of the compounds it creates in the process are shed into the soil, feeding the bacteria. The bacteria then break down these compounds, releasing electrons in the process.
For the moment, the resulting energy is just enough to power a digital clock, but according to Carlos Peralta of the Cambridge Institute of Manufacturing, this is an exercise in potential:
"The moss table provides us with a vision of the future. It suggests a world in which self-sustaining organic-synthetic hybrid objects surround us, and supply us with our daily needs in a clean and environmentally friendly manner."
The designers envision a future full of green devices collecting energy on building rooftops, and enormous, seaborne lily-pads gathering sunlight to power nearby communities. If it sounds like science fiction, click through to read more. Everyone loves sci-fi, right? —MN