moscow-based architect and designer elena mitro has devised a research project that utilizes plants to produce renewable energyaptly titled ‘green spark’, the system is represented by a set of plant-filled ceramic pots that act as a set of batteries using the natural process of photosynthesis to generate electrical energy known as plant-microbial fuel cells (PMFCs).

elena mitro green spark plant installation uses power of photosynthesis to produce renewable energy

 

each battery comprises a modular hanged ceramic pot that contains different species of plants. these plants use light energy to consume carbon dioxide and water from the environment and convert it to organic compounds. these compounds are released through the roots to the soil where a symbiotic bacteria occurs.

elena mitro green spark plant installation uses power of photosynthesis to produce renewable energy

 

 

the bacteria breaks down the matter, liberating free electrons. by providing an electrode, so a conductor through which electricity can enter, electricity can be harvested from the micro-organisms. one battery can generate up to 0.7 volts with the current depending on the way the pots are connected, either parallel or in a series circuit.

elena mitro green spark plant installation uses power of photosynthesis to produce renewable energy

 

 

elena mitro has created a final installation that contains 86 such batteries which allows to charge 2 smartphones simultaneously. the project goal is to test PMFCs through the integration to the city scale and urban infrastructure. the green batteries could represent a self-sufficient distributed system for the environmental eco-monitoring.

elena mitro green spark plant installation uses power of photosynthesis to produce renewable energy

 

 

the battery cells have been specially designed to encourage the plant to cling as if in its natural surroundings. the bottom part of the ceramic pot is glazed to be waterproof for a better activation of cathode, an electrode from which a conventional current leaves a polarized electrical device. the rest is a porous clay without coating. the pot has three lugs, two for the electrical connection and one for an irrigation tube.

elena mitro green spark plant installation uses power of photosynthesis to produce renewable energy

elena mitro green spark plant installation uses power of photosynthesis to produce renewable energy

 

 

credits

 

authors of the project: elena mitrofanova, ivan mitrofanov (los mitros // )
scientific development: prof chris howe, dr paolo bombelli (department of biochemistry, university of cambridge)
team: paweł akimov, michael sokolov, einar kulbaev, michael omona, neeraj mazumder, altynai nogoibaeva, anna budnikova, bek zholdosh mederbekov, shukhov lab, higher school of economics
production: alexander tretyakov, project fabrika 317 

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