Science - March 21, 2012

Plant-e gets quarter of a million

The little Wageningen company Plant-e is getting a quarter of a million euros to develop the principle further of plant-generated electricity.

plant-e.jpg
The money is a so-called Pre-Seed Grant, the name given to grants awarded by organizations such as the Netherlands Genomics Initiative to young, promising start-ups. The cash is intended as support as they make the move from feasible idea to an actual product.

Green roof
Plant-e uses living plants as a kind of battery. The company was set up in 2009 as a spin-off from the Environmental Technology chair group. The two researchers/scientists behind the project are David Strik and Marjolein Helder. A Plant-e trial is currently running on the roof of the NIOO. The idea is that the green roof should generate electricity.

Developer
The intention is that the company should use the grant money to hire a product developer who can help them market the electricity-generating green roof. That is planned for 2013. There are also other projects in the pipeline. For instance, Plant-e wants to use the technology to generate electricity on a small scale in remote areas of developing countries.

Plant-e is the second Environmental Technology spin-off company to get such a grant. Waste2Chemical, a company run by Kirsten Steinbusch, got the cash previously with new technology for creating biodiesel from fatty acids in organic waste.

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