A team of scientists at MIT and Michigan along with researchers at the University of California have discovered that artificial photosynthesis could produce electric energy. They are developing synthetic leaves that can use the phenomenon of photosynthesis to generate power. The leaves are grown in glass wafers with tiny water-filled networks inside.
These synthetic leaves works exactly like a real plant by sucking water channeled from the main stem at 1.5cm per second, while water moves toward the edges of the leaves, from where it evaporates through the created pores. The main stem has metal plates connected to circuits attached with its walls, the charged plates and water within the stem form two conducting layers separated by an insulating layer.
Why is the leaf a power source?
When bubbles of air pass through the capacitor, because of different electrical properties of air and water, the device charges and a tiny amount of electricity is generated.
The system will generate a small amount of charge due to the difference of electrical properties of air and water. This small amount of charge makes the system to produce an output voltage of some 2 to 5 microvolts with power density of about 2 microwatts per cubic centimeter. It is true that the system’s output power can’t charge even the smallest of gadgets, but it is an important step in the green electricity field.