Barcelona-based start-up “Bioo” has developed a unique way of generating electricity from plants’ photosynthesis that doesn’t do any damage and is 100% renewable. This new biological battery will generate energy from the soil itself as it rains, or is irrigated, and nutrients and microorganisms leach from the ground. I’m told Bioo’s tech will direct them into the “biological battery”, where they will feed on organic matter, producing protons and electrons. As the electrons go to the anode and protons to the cathode, the current will power lights or sensors, and eventually, if scaled up, could potentially power an entire house.
It’s worth mentioning Bioo was recently given the City Solution of the Year award at the 2020 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge, hosted by Leading Cities in partnership with QBE North America. Before winning, Bioo was one of eleven finalists representing the world’s foremost urban technology startups from among hundreds that applied from 37 countries, who made pitches to representatives from the sponsors as well as the UN and World Economic Forum. This was no small feat and from what I understand, the biological batteries will first be used on farms, where they can power sensors that gather data like humidity and pH of the soil, and it is hoped one day to earn carbon credits for fighting climate change.
According to Bioo, there are several advantages with this innovation including having an energy source that’s producing electricity during daytime and nighttime, and regardless if it’s raining or snowing. Also, unlike large solar farms that displace nature, the biological panels can work without impacting plants growing in a field. I should mention the technology uses materials that are more abundant than those used in solar panels, so when mass-manufactured, it could potentially compete on price, though the startup is only beginning to collect data about how much energy the panels can generate.
Future plans for the company include working on more experimental technology that turns plants into switches that activate light or sound, with the idea of turning green space around hospitals and parks into a living global monument for COVID front-line workers. In a recent interview Pablo Vidarte, the 24-year-old founder of Bioo shared Bioo’s goal of contributing a lasting living legacy through the future Healing Gardens where you will simply touch and leaf and it will act as a switch, turning on the sounds and messages of family members that the local doctors and nurses assisted during the crisis. I’m told this venture will be powered by Bioo Panel, a vegetal panel that generates and supplies energy from nature to light up parks and gardens, and should be expected to market late next year or early 2022.
There certainly looks to be a ton of innovation and new tech coming to the forefront of the regen ag space and sustainability movements. It may not be something we personally use in our operations for some time but definitely worth keeping an eye on as we think about our longer-term investments moving forward. You can learn more about Bioo and what they are doing HERE. (Sources: Smartcitiesworld.net, Fastcompany, finance.yahoo)