The Power of Moss: Biophotovoltaic
July 18, 2014 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
A modern designed table that incorporates the bright green life of moss is as urban-garden-chic as you can get. But wait there’s more.
The moss on this table has a job to do—and that job is to generate power. That’s what that big word is all about: Biophotovoltaic, or BPV for memory’s sake.
A BPV device generates electricity from the energy of light. This is not solar energy, but energy derived from good old photosynthesis, forever etched in our minds from elementary school science class.
Let’s have a quick review: Photosynthesis is a process by which plants and algae convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into organic compounds with the assistance of sunlight’s energy. Plants use the organic compounds generated in order to grow.
To take it one step further, we can look at moss specifically. When moss goes through the process of photosynthesis, some of the organic material is also released into the soil. Soil contains bacteria, which breaks down the organic compounds to keep itself alive. Byproducts are released through this process and they contain electrons, which the Moss Table captures and puts to good use. This biochemical material becomes electrochemical, thereby creating electrical energy from biological material.
Okay, we’ll shut the science book now.
Attractive and organically inventive, the Moss Table can produce about 520 Joules of energy per day. This would only charge a laptop for twenty seconds!
But before deeming this table attractive but useless, understand that this is one step toward what scientists anticipate to be a future of devices capable of generating much more energy. Coupled with the low energy laptop and appliances that are in the works now, Moss Table and similar creations just might bring enough power to a home to make a real (and stylish) difference.
Until then, isn’t this cool?