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Leading the charge


Banana ‘paper’ can help protect potatoes from pathogens by absorbing spuds’ discharge.

Now, a startup from the Netherlands is using the discarded organic material produced during photosynthesis to create electricity.

Bacteria around the roots of a plant break down the discharge, releasing electrons and protons.

These react with anodes and cathodes in the soil, as well as oxygen in the air, producing both water and electricity.

The latter in sufficient quantities to power small lamps like in parks in Rotterdam and The Hague or sensors that measure humidity in the soil.

Since plants absorb more CO2 than they release, the process is highly sustainable.

In Spain, meanwhile, work is already underway to produce biological batteries.

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