Saturday, September 12, 2009

Work is under way to tap trees for electricity

Remember the potato-battery experiment from high school? Good. So we all know that plants have a slight electrical charge. Slight. A tree, for example, carries (maybe) a several hundred millivolts, less than a AA battery. But a University of Washington team has managed to squeeze 1.1 volts out of a tree using a “voltage boost converter.” (New Scientist)

That still ain’t much. What can you really do with 1.1 volts? Well, imagine if you had a whole forest wired. It’s still not enough to power a city, but you could power devices in the woods to monitor the ecology’s health, look out for forest fires and study wildlife.

No comments:

Pound360 Archive

About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.