Skip to comments.Electricity Harvested From Trees
Posted on 09/17/2009 7:21:29 AM PDT by BGHater
Researchers have figured out a way to plug into the power generated by trees.
Scientists have known for some time that plants can conduct electricity. In fact, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that plants can pack up to 200 millivolts of electrical power. A millivolt is one-thousandth of a volt.
And although the popular potato or lemon battery experiments have shown that an electrical current can be generated by creating a reaction between the food and two different metals, power is harvested from trees through a different mechanism.
"We specifically didn't want to confuse this effect with the potato effect, so we used the same metal for both electrodes," said Babak Parviz, a professor of electrical engineering at Washington University and co-author of the study.
After spending the summer surveying trees, the researchers discovered that big leaf maple trees generated a steady voltage of up to a few hundred millivolts. Powering a circuit, however, required a much higher voltage.
To extract electricity from trees and convert it into useful energy, researchers built a boost converter capable of picking up as little as a 20 millivolt output and storing it to produce a greater output. By hooking it up to a tree using electrodes, the custom-built device was able to generate an output voltage of 1.1 volts, enough to run low-power sensors.
Electrical engineers Babak Parviz and Brian Otis and undergraduate student Carlton Himes (right to left) demonstrate an electrical circuit that runs entirely off tree power.
This custom circuit is able to store up enough voltage from trees to be able to run a low-power sensor.
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
Perhaps we could hook up the entire Amazon rainforest and have enough electricity to run a small refrigerator!
Imagine the power we could garner from a well-managed pulpwood stand!
I wonder if hardwoods are better than softwoods?
this is kinda cool actually.
tree hugger outrage in 3.........2.......1
We can get electricity from trees in just a very few simple steps:
1. Cut trees down, and chip them up through a wood chipper or similar device.
2. Feed these wood chips to a fire beneath a boiler in which there is generated steam.
3. Use steam to drive either a reciprocating unit or a turbine, and the resulting rotary motion is converted to electricity through a generator. Depending on whether the generator is a true generator, or an alternator, either AC or DC current could be produced.
Interesting article, though I wish an author for a science related publication wouldn’t confuse voltage with power (watts) and would know the difference between ‘conduct electricity’ and ‘generate electricity.’
Here’s a plan: cut the tree down, burn the wood under a water boiler and use the steam to turn an electric turbine, or am I just out in the woods here (pun intended)...?
MIT has gone downhill if they teach volts is the same as power. LOL
My guess is the reporter messed up the actual facts of the article. I’m sure they know better at MIT.
e.g ....What's wrong with getting drunk? Ask a glass of water.
[MIT has gone downhill if they teach volts is the same as power. LOL ]
Someone I used to work with had a sign that was something like:
DANGER! 20 mega-Ohm Source
LOL! As an electronics engineer, I find that HILARIOUS! I have GOT to make a sign like that and put it on my office door!
...researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that plants can pack up to 200 millivolts of electrical power. A millivolt is one-thousandth of a volt.IOW, better to plant 40 acres to fast-growing firewood species. :')
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