Lonely Planet Writer

Plant power to light up British bus shelters

Future bus shelters could be lit up by plant power according to new research in Britain.

A bus shelter lit up by electricity at night
A bus shelter lit up by electricity at night. Image by Tom Hilton / CC BY 2.0

Cambridge scientists are trying to create the world’s “greenest shelter” and their prototype structure is using a combination of plants and solar power which they hope will generate sufficient electricity to light itself. The study believes the plant-solar panel combination could provide an affordable solution for use in developing countries.

Created by Cambridge University and eco companies, the Bus Shelter contains six solar panels as well as eight green plants. Designed by Ely-based architects MCMM Architettura, the plants harvest electrons due to a natural by-production of photosynthesis and metabolic activity. Researchers say they then can convert them into electrical current” by fitting carbon fibre and a carbon/catalyst plate to the green walls.

Prof. Christopher Howe and Dr. Paolo Bombelli came up with the idea at the university’s department of biochemistry. Dr. Bombelli explained that the solar panel work during the day with the biological system generating at night.

He said a portfolio of different technologies were required to address the world’s needs and it would be more beneficial if such technologies could operate together.

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