Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - 30


CONSILIENCE

ARE YOU READY
FOR GREEN ROOFS
THAT PRODUCE
ELECTRICITY?
WRITTEN BY KARA ORR

The goal of alternative energy
technology researchers is to
create a new source of electricity
generation technology that
is renewable, sustainable, and
accessible, and green roofs may
just hold the key! So when
Marjolein Helder, the Dutch
CEO of Plant-e completed
her 2012 thesis entitled Design
criteria for the Plant-Microbial
Fuel Cell Electricity generation
with living plants - from lab to
application she was seeking to
realize the potential of plant
based electricity generation.
LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / FALL 2016 / 30

M

arjolein explains, "to meet future electricity demand,
alternative electricity generating technologies are
needed. A new alternative electricity generation technology is the Plant Microbial Fuel Cell (P-MFC)". The
Plant Microbial Fuel Cell is described in Helder's thesis as a
"system that produces bio-electricity from plant derived organic
matter without harvesting the plant". The P-MFC technology
uses rhizodeposits released from plant roots, which are then
converted into electrons, protons and CO2 by electrochemically
active micro-organisms that are present around the roots. These
electrons are harvested using anodes and cathodes separated by a
membrane to produce electricity.
The P-MFC technology is renewable because the energy it outputs
in its lifetime offsets the energy required to produce it. This method
of generating electricity is sustainable because it can continue to
output energy so long as water remains in a liquid form. Because of
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - Cover1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - Cover2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - TOC
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - 1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - 2
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - M1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A3
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A4
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A5
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