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Electrical circuit runs entirely off power in trees

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posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 01:17 PM

Sept. 8, 2009
You've heard about flower power. What about tree power? It turns out that it's there, in small but measurable quantities. There's enough power in trees for University of Washington researchers to run an electronic circuit, according to results to be published in an upcoming issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Transactions on Nanotechnology.

"As far as we know this is the first peer-reviewed paper of someone powering something entirely by sticking electrodes into a tree," said co-author Babak Parviz, a UW associate professor of electrical engineering.

A study last year from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil. Those researchers have since started a company developing forest sensors that exploit this new power source.

The UW team sought to further academic research in the field of tree power by building circuits to run off that energy. They successfully ran a circuit solely off tree power for the first time.

Co-author Carlton Himes, a UW undergraduate student, spent last summer exploring likely sites. Hooking nails to trees and connecting a voltmeter, he found that bigleaf maples, common on the UW campus, generate a steady voltage of up to a few hundred millivolts.

The UW team next built a device that could run on the available power. Co-author Brian Otis, a UW assistant professor of electrical engineering, led the development of a boost converter, a device that takes a low incoming voltage and stores it to produce a greater output. His team's custom boost converter works for input voltages of as little as 20 millivolts (a millivolt is one-thousandth of a volt), an input voltage lower than any existing such device. It produces an output voltage of 1.1 volts, enough to run low-power sensors.

The UW circuit is built from parts measuring 130 nanometers and it consumes on average just 10 nanowatts of power during operation (a nanowatt is one billionth of a watt).

"We specifically didn't want to confuse this effect with the potato effect, so we used the same metal for both electrodes," Parviz said.

Tree power is unlikely to replace solar power for most applications, Parviz admits. But the system could provide a low-cost option for powering tree sensors that might be used to detect environmental conditions or forest fires. The electronic output could also be used to gauge a tree's health.

"It's not exactly established where these voltages come from. But there seems to be some signaling in trees, similar to what happens in the human body but with slower speed," Parviz said. "I'm interested in applying our results as a way of investigating what the tree is doing. When you go to the doctor, the first thing that they measure is your pulse. We don't really have something similar for trees."

Now this is cool stuff.
I'm going to have to try this one if I can figure out how they did it.
Could be useful to power low watt bulbs, LED's, filtration systems for the bunker.

posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 01:40 PM
Very interesting.

I believe everything is a sea of energy an information that computes the material reality.

I hope research like this continues and we also look for ways to extract Vacuum energy.

Maybe one day you can build a cabin in the woods and use the trees to power the place and your electric car.

[edit on 9-9-2009 by Matrix Rising]

posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 01:49 PM
A very similar article came out from a MA company a few years back. We discussed it here on ATS. I contacted the company and was in-touch with the 'researcher'. He sent me papers and the like about his discovery. I ws able to relpicate it in my own yad but as far as I could discern it was more related to the galvanic reaction of the electrodes and the water/ions in the tree and soil. I was able to get his same readings just putting the electrodes in the soil several feet apart. Additionally, the readings I got were suspiciously close the galvanic constants of the various probes I used.

Just sayin'

posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 02:02 PM
reply to post by warrenb

That stuff is interesting Warren B.

Here are some interesting videos on the subject.

posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 02:03 PM

Originally posted by warrenb

The electronic output could also be used to gauge a tree's health.

I guess my only question is would this adversely affect the trees health? I doubt that much of a pull would do much to the tree, but who knows.

reply to post by jtma508

since you seem to have the knowledge and the materials to test such things, have you ever taken a look at the validity of Tesla's Radiant energy devices?

posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:53 PM
Very interesting stuff Warrenb, S&F.

My question:

How far away are we from powering our iPods, recharging our cells, or powering our car by plugging a couple electrodes into ourselves somewhere. Fully customizable ports I would assume - "These all new Self mPower™ ports come in a large variety of colors and amPerage packages. You can even get the new Self mPower™ inverter to power ac appliances should the need arise!"

Nah...maybe that's too far-fetched.

EDIT: Guess that would give a whole new meaning to being "drained" at the end of the day. Heheh.

[edit on 9-9-2009 by lagnar]

posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 04:13 PM
People have been doing this for 100 years or better, but there isn't much power in this. It's galvanic action, using the water as the electret. You can use soil or dirt and it works just as well. It's similar to the potato clock, but soil is better since it's replenished.

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