Artificial leaves created to pump water for power generation
This technology is inspired by water transport in natural leaves. Hence researchers have developed artificial leaves that can generate power from evaporative flow. The concept behind this is that natural leaves constantly lose water through evaporation as water in their veins is pumped up to the top of the tree. This process popularly known as transpiration also creates a mechanical energy in synthetic leaves thus creating power. Now that is one innovative way of generation electricity. Researchers have constructed leaves out of glass wafers with tiny veins through which water can flow. The veins open at the tips of glass leaves where evaporation happens at the rate of 1.5 cm per second.
The researchers have wired these leaves by adding metal plates to the walls and then connecting them to a circuit. The metal plates get charged and a capacitor has been made from the two conducting plates separated by an insulation layer. The researchers have added bubbles into the leaf’s veins to periodically interrupt the flow of water. Every time a bubble is passed between the metal plates, it changes the capacitance and generates a small current. Each bubble can create about 2-5 microvolts or 2 microwatts per cubic centimeter. Ofcourse it is much less compared to solar power generation but scientists are working towards increasing the capacity.