Succulents Into Supercapacitors

a) Schematic illustration of energy storage process of succulent plants by harnessing solar energy with a solar cell, and the solar cell converts the energy into electricity that can be store in APCSCs of succulent plants, and then utilized by multiple electrical appliances. b–d) The energy is stored in cactus under sunlight by solar cell and then power light strips of Christmas tree for decoration.

Researchers in Beijing have discovered a way to turn succulents into supercapacitors to help store energy. While previous research has found ways to store energy in plants, it often required implants or other modifications to the plant itself to function. These foreign components might be rejected by the plant or hamper its natural functions leading to its premature death.

This new method takes an aloe leaf, freeze dries it, heats it up, then uses the resulting components as an implant back into the aloe plant. Since it’s all aloe all the time, the plant stays happy (or at least alive) and becomes an electrolytic supercapacitor.

Using the natural electrolytes of the aloe juice, the supercapacitor can then be charged and discharged as needed. The researchers tested the concept by solar charging the capacitor and then using that to run LED lights.

This certainly proposes some interesting applications, although we think your HOA might not be a fan. We also wonder if there might be a way to use the photosynthetic process more directly to charge the plant? Maybe this could recharge a tiny robot that lands on the plants?

17 thoughts on “Succulents Into Supercapacitors

  1. English is not my native language, therefore every time an abbreviation passes by on hackaday confusion is not far away.

    Today I was reading this page that holds a nice introduction to an article about solar-energy using plants. Suddenly the abbreviation HOA popped up. I thought WTF, WTH is HOA? Can’t they just KISS, right?!?! I could not prevent to LOL as I often do when I run into my own limitations. So I decided to google using the WWW and ASAP I searched for HOA. I quickly learned that HOA is almost the same as POA, not to be confused with DOA but I digress. Anyway, now I think that I know what HOA means I started pondering and imagined a hacker messing with the plants in the lobby of a big building. Which can result in a funny situation IMHO. Which made me ROFL for a short while resulting me to be AFK. Just imagine… plants with lamps what a silly idea… although… a self charging xmas tree might be a fun concept.
    I must get to work… only 10 months left to realize this crazy concept.

  2. I live in southern Arizona and we have lots of “century plants” on our lot. They grow like weeds and have extremely sharp and incredibly dangerous leaves. If somebody was to trip and fall into one of them it would probably kill them so I often go around with a pick and dig up the newly sprouted ones, but they propagate so easily and grow so fast (the “century” designation is a joke) that we still end up with lots of them. The official designation is agave americana and they are not a member of the aloe family, although agave and aloe are members of the same larger family. I wonder if they would perform the same capacitor function … not that I really want to mess with it but if they did it seems like the source material would be relatively cheap. Century plants don’t even have to die … the flower stalk grows so fast that it sucks all the life out of the plant, and if you cut it right away the plant survives. It keeps putting out additional leaves so harvesting some of the on a regular basis should be possible.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.