Microbes break down plant nutrients to release electrons that are used to create an electrical current.

A bio-photovoltaic panel installed at the Valldaura campus of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) consists of a battery that produces energy from bacteria in the soil around it.

The bacteria in the soil stay alive by feeding off the by-products of the photosynthesis of plants. The bacteria breaks down plant nutrients, releasing hydrogen protons and electrons into the soil. The electrons are extracted and put into a circuit with the use of a microbial fuel cell.

The efficiency of the system can depend on various factors that affect how the electrons are collected and transferred into the system. These factors include the type of plant, the type of soil, soil characteristics that support microbial growth, and the material and components of the battery used.

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