Dutch News

7 November 2014
World première: Lights powerd bij living plants

On Wednesday November 5 the Netherlands was the first country in the world where lights were powered by living plants. At exactly 17:20 hrs CET the lights were switched on in Ede-Wageningen, home to the innovative young company Plant-e. Five minutes later the old ammunition site Hembrug near Amsterdam followed. The municipalities of Ede and Wageningen are Plant-e’s first customers and have switched on the lights that are powered by a modular plant-system. The first of its kind in the world.

The technology

A plant produces organic matter via photosynthesis. Part of this organic matter is used for plant-growth, but a large part can’t be used by the plant and is excreted into the soil via the roots. Around the roots naturally occurring micro-organisms break down the organic compounds. In this process, electrons are released as a waste product. By providing an electrode for the micro-organisms to donate their electrons to, the electrons can be harvested as electricity.


The product

The first product that is developed by Plant-e is a modular system: separate modules in which the technology is integrated and plants can grow. This modular system is suitable for small to medium scale applications. It can be applied in sizes of (multiples) 100m2 to be used for LED-lighting, power a WiFi-spot or function as a green roof while generating electricity for the building underneath. In the last case the system doesn’t only generate electricity, but adds other advantages such as insulation, water storage and increase of biodiversity.


This first product of Plant-e will further develop in the following years until the output is reached that is expected from the results of experiments and calculations. One square meter will eventually generate 28 kWh per year. An average Dutch household uses approximately 3500 kWh electricity per year. With 100 m2Plant-e system it is eventually possible to meet 80% of one’s own electricity demand.


The future

Next to the modular system Plant-e is working on the development of a tubular system which will make the technology suitable for large scale applications. Eventually every wetland can be used as “power plant” while the landscape stays the same. Plant-e technology will be applied under the surface, and the existing green will be used to generate electricity. Plant-e expects to get this system market ready within 5 years with the help of investments in pilots and demos. Once the technology is fully developed Plant-e can contribute to the renewable electricity matrix of wind, water, bio-and solar energy and help reach sustainability goals.







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