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This article was published on July 22, 2017


This Dutch startup turns plants into batteries

This Dutch startup turns plants into batteries


Anouk Vleugels
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Anouk Vleugels

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As Publisher, Anouk is responsible for TNW's overall media strategy. If she ever quits her current job, it will be to do more screenwriting As Publisher, Anouk is responsible for TNW's overall media strategy. If she ever quits her current job, it will be to do more screenwriting (and likely be poor).

Imagine a lamp. Any lamp. Now imagine having to water it.

Dutch product designer Ermi van Oers created Living Light: plants that double as lights. Or lights that double as plants – whichever way you prefer looking at it. The lights run on electricity generated by bacteria in the soil.

Here’s how it works: during the process of photosynthesis plants release organic compounds in the soil. This causes bacteria to generate electrons and protons, which are then used in a similar way to a traditional battery.

And here’s the fun part: healthier plants produce more energy. If you take care of it properly, the Living Light will produce up to 0.1 mW. Enough to use it as a night lamp, but not sufficient to properly light a room.

Together with Plant-E, another Dutch startup specialized in plant energy, Van Oers is currently looking into ways to increase the Living Light’s energy output. “We are now finalizing the prototype. Our first batch, containing 50 pieces, will hopefully be shipped to customers in early 2018.”