UBD student harvests clean energy from living plants
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
AN UNDERGRADUATE student from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam Faculty of Science has harnessed bioelectricity which could someday provide clean energy to the country.
Chai Jia Rong, an Applied Physics student in her fourth year, was able to harness and generate bioelectricity from money plants by collecting electrons produce by bacteria around the roots. “During photosynthesis, plants only take up 70 per cent of the food. The (remaining) 30 per cent (of food) are excreted into the roots where naturally occurring bacteria are present inside waiting to consume them. After (consumption), the bacteria will produce electrons and photons,” said Chai.
“To attract these electrons and photons, we place electrodes which will collect the electrons and photons and if we connect (the electrodes) to a bulb, it will light up,” she explained on how to take control and use the clean energy from the plants.
Chai’s project is one of many being showcased in the UBD Convocation Festival exhibition at the Learning Commons in the UBD Library. The exhibition which will be open to members of the public till October 23 features projects by current and graduating students from different faculties.
During the showcase, Chai had a setup of six money plants arranged in a parallel and series which generated up to 1.7 volts and 2.1 mill amperes.
Chai said that bioelectricity generated varies depending on the type of plants, arrangement of the circuit and number of the plants. She also said that together with her lecturer, they have been trying to refine and improve the process. “Everyone has been asking if we can charge mobile phones but currently we need a lot more plants to achieve that level,” said Chai.
She added that their goal was to contribute to the development of safe, green and clean electricity.
“The benefit of this project is that it does not harm the plants’ growth. This is a normal process and we are just harnessing energy that is produce naturally,” said Chai.
The festival will also hold other activities and events such as badminton and basketball competitions, Khatam al-Quran reading and thanksgiving ceremony.
The Brunei Times