Table Powered by Moss Energy (Almost) Charges a Lamp

The Moss Table takes utilitarian furniture to another level.

The Moss Table takes utilitarian furniture to another level.

Using biophotovoltaic technology, the table, which was showcased at the Salone Satellite in Milan earlier this month and at Designersblock London 2011, generates electricity from light via photosynthesis.

The moss can produce 520 joules per day, which is just enough to keep the average laptop on for about 20 seconds. As it stands, it can’t power the built-in lamp, but has enough energy for small devices, such as digital clocks. Still the designer says more potential could be unlocked:

Currently, the moss generates about 50 milliwatts per square metre (mW/m2). The most efficient BPV devices around today (which are based on vascular plants rather than moss) have been recorded as generating up to 220mW/m2 (Helder, 2010). Scientists anticipate that, with further research, future devices may be able to generate up to 3W/m2 (Strik at al., 2011). Low-energy consumption laptops are being developed (e.g. the XO-1, manufactured by Quanta Computer) which could operate at as little as 1W, meaning that a plant-power laptop could be possible in the future. In this futuristic scenario, the Moss Table could power a laptop for over 14 hours.

Efficiency can be improved by increasing the rate moss excretes organic compounds into the soil and the rate bacteria breaks down organic compounds. The table hasn’t tested if different mosses can produce more energy.

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