Irnas and Plant-e are jointly developing the Plant-power device: A plant-powered cell with integrated harvester technology. It can be connected to any low-power IoT-device, such as a sensor or data transmission device. Organic components that are naturally available in the soil through decaying plant material and through release by plant roots are used by micro-organisms to produce power in this Plant-power device. The amount of electricity that the Plant-power device produces is limited, but it is enough to power remote wireless sensors and data logging equipment. On top of that, the electricity is produced 24-7. This means that the Plant-power device will not run out of power as energy is continuously generated below the soil surface.
Applications can be found, for example, in agriculture and nature conservation areas. Wetlands anywhere in the world where measurements of soil-, air- or water quality are needed are suited for this device. The Plant-power device is very easy to install and does not disturb the ecosystem: minimal invasive installation. The Plant-power device has a small internal battery as buffer, which is continuously charged by the plant-powered cell. It will require no maintenance and there is no need for battery exchange. The Plant-power device is already operational and generates energy while plants are growing and the ecosystem flourishes. The Plant-power device is designed to be a power source for low-power IoT applications, eliminating the need for an additional alkaline or Li-ion battery. It is designed to be integrated with existing IoT applications with no or minimal changes needed to the device. Examples of low-power sensor measurements are temperature, humidity, air/water pressure and soil/water conductivity. A long range low-power data transmission is achieved by a wireless LoRa connection, but other low-power consuming options are possible as well. The proof-of-concept was achieved in January when the Plant-power device connected to an IoT application sent data through a satellite connection!
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