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“A team of MIT scientists, using platinum electrodes and everyday ficus house plants, have found that the faint current actually comes from an imbalance in pH between the soil and a living tree. And that discovery is already sparking discussions about novel ways to use that electricity – including as a power source for a tree’s own fire alarm.”
The voltage is small -- the average tree generates a mere 100 to 200 millivolts. But the potential is huge. Already a company called Voltree has developed a tree-powered sensor that monitors local air temperature and humidity, tapping enough energy to radio the data to a central hub.