Next Big Thing – bio-photo-voltaic devices
Plants can power things?
Apparently so, according to scientists from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) working in bio-photo-voltaics – that’s the use of wasted energy from photosynthesis to power devices. The BPV-powered Moss Table above is a potential powerhouse of gadget juice.
So, that lamp is powered by the moss?
Well, not quite yet. At the moment BPV will only run less energy-intensive devices, like a digital clock; in the video below, the animation responds to the table's power output. But the creators of the Moss Table reckon that as more efficient power transferral and less power-hungry devices are developed, it'll be able to store up enough energy to power more devices. BPV works by generating electricity from the electrons captured by conductive fibres inside the table. That converts chemical energy into electrical. This works with algae, cyanobacteria, and vascular plants right now.
When will it be more powerful?
At the moment research is still in its early stages, with the above table just a concept. But in the not too distant future, we could be powering our iPads – or at least our lamps – with moss.