Plant powered lamps a renewable energy source


The word renewable energy strikes solar power, wind power or hydro power, but nobody thinks about plants. A recent research by a professor and his eight students team revealed that a plant can also contribute to renewable energy. This became a boon to a remote village near South America when its condition became bad to worse after a flood which damaged the electric cables and forced the villagers to switch on the kerosene lamps.


Though it looks the mechanism is complex to derive power from plants, the concept involved is simple and straight forward. During photosynthesis, plants produce some nutrients which are utilized by a kind of bacteria called GEOBACTER. They use these nutrients and undergo oxidation which results in the formation of free electrons. These free electrons are captured by a well-built array of electrodes in a wooden box. This wooden box contains soil and is specially designed for this purpose. Hence electrodes harness the power and store it in the lamp’s battery.


The entire setup is slightly larger than a typical lamp but is small enough to carry from place to place. The system nearly weighs 2-3 kg and it is very to handle.


This innovative technology comes with a lot of advantages some of which are as follows.

  • It produces a power equivalent to 50W incandescent bulb for 2 hours.
  • Minimal pollution and Eco-friendly
  • As all the major components involved are natural resources, they can be available easily everywhere.
  • Usage of this indirectly promotes plant growth and afforestation
  • Easily accessible to all as the concept is very simple
  • About 5-7% of conventional power can be saved which is very large and it increases the natural habitat
  • Power required for small domestic purposes can be easily achieved
  • Can be used as a mobile power source
  • Costs involved in this innovative technology are very low.
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  • Produced power is not very high compared to conventional power sources
  • Over usage of this may result in increase of the waste electrodes
  • If the soil is impure or not up to the marked efficiency of power produced decreases
  • Electrodes should be treated carefully and should be replaced periodically

Battery Life

This equipment can provide lighting for upto 2 hours if an average plant is exposed to an optimum daylight. Increase in the number of plants can increase the battery life linearly up to 8-10 hours.


  • Power along the footpaths can also be provided using this technology.
  • A huge amount of power can be generated at nurseries and gardens because of availability of plants in large numbers. Again it depends on the area of garden or nursery.
  • We can use this technology to power bulbs in the hostels while also growing trees.


Technology has to protect the people. These days, conserving natural resources is technology Even though it is difficult to start this implementation, it will give best results at the end if properly organized and managed.

Image credits: Digital Trends

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