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Dutch Company Powers Street Lights with Living Plants


...elusive dreamer
Apr 5, 2009
Putting Mother Nature to use, and the plants aren't damaged. http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/du...lphone-be-next

In Hembrug, Netherlands, a crowd stood in a park and looked up into the evening sky, waiting for lights to shine. This month more than 300 LED lights were illuminated by the Dutch company Plant-e in a new energy project called “Starry Sky.” Although the bulbswere ordinary, the electricity running through them derived from a new process that harnesses the power of living plants.

Plant-e’s technology is the first to produce electricity from plants without damaging them.

“Starry Sky” and a similar project an hour’s drive away, near Plant-e’s Wageningen headquarters, are the two first commercial installations of the company’s emerging technology. Both power lighting, but the company also sells Wi-Fi hot spots, mobile chargers, and rooftop electricity modules, all fueled by the byproducts of living plants.

Plant-e’s co-founder and CEO, Marjolein Helder, believes that this technology could be revolutionary. Using plants to generate electricity brings a new clean energy option to the table, but even more exciting, the company plans to expand the technology to existing wetlands and rice paddies where electricity can be generated on a larger scale. This could give power to some of the world’s poorest places.

Although the idea of using plants and photosynthesis to extract energy is not a new one—for decades middle schoolers have been engineering clocks made from potatoes, which run on a similar principle—Plant-e’s technology is the first to produce electricity from plants without damaging them.


New member
Apr 9, 2016
How well does it work in the winter? Lol. But it's a great idea for the growing season.


perpetual student
Dec 3, 2007
Texas, USA
That is way cool. I also wondered how they could "keep the lights on" in a place that is so far from the equator.

In the Netherlands, Plant-e’s installations stop producing electricity for one to two weeks during the coldest part of winter because the technology doesn’t work when the ground freezes.
It is also cool that:

The next step for Plant-e is using existing wetlands to generate electricity. Engineers would place a tube horizontally below the surface of a wetland, peat bog, mangrove, rice paddy, or river delta, and use the same process as the modular system.