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MEMS and Sensors

Electronic Plants Store Energy at the Magnitude of Supercapacitors

03 March 2017

Plants with integrated electronics, e-Plants, have been in development for years but, up until recently, the devices and circuits have been manufactured in localized regions of the planet due to limited distribution of the organic electronic material.

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have come up with a material that turns a rose into an energy storage device that has the same order of magnitude as a supercapacitor. The material polymerizes inside the rose without any external trigger. The fluid that flows inside the rose creates long, conducting threads, not only in the stem but through the plant, out into the leaves and petals.

A rose that has been modified to store energy at the same magnitude as a supercapacitor. Source: Linköping University A rose that has been modified to store energy at the same magnitude as a supercapacitor. Source: Linköping University “We have been able to charge the rose repeatedly, for hundreds of times without any loss on the performance of the device,” says Eleni Stavrinidou, assistant professor at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University. “The levels of energy storage we have achieved are of the same order of magnitude as those in supercapacitors. The plant can, without any form of optimization of the system, potentially power our ion pump, for example, and various types of sensors.”

While the research is just in the beginning stages, this method could lead to the development of autonomous energy systems, the possibility of harvesting energy from plants to power sensors and switches or possibly creating fuel cells inside plants.

“A few years ago, we demonstrated that it is possible to create electronic plants, 'power plants,' but we have now shown that the research has practical applications,” says Professor Magnus Berggren, head of the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University. “We have not only shown that energy storage is possible, but also that we can deliver systems with excellent performance.”



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Discussion – 3 comments

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Re: Electronic Plants Store Energy at the Magnitude of Supercapacitors
#1
2017-Mar-14 11:16 AM

If I understand the basics, does the plant need to be cut/harvested or can it operate without damage while plants-alive?

Re: Electronic Plants Store Energy at the Magnitude of Supercapacitors
#2
2017-Mar-14 1:30 PM

I wonder if it comes with a RoHS certificate of compliance?

Re: Electronic Plants Store Energy at the Magnitude of Supercapacitors
#3
2017-Mar-14 9:59 PM

This is a great move towards a natural storage for renewable energy.

I am excited by the opportunity to store power in my decorative plants surrounding my residence and applying the energy to productive use.

Please keep me posted on developments

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30 May-02 Jun 2017 Lake Buena Vista, Florida USA
04-09 Jun 2017 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
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