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Department of Plant Sciences

Moss powered radio

On Monday 10 March, John Humphreys, doyen of Radio 4’s Today programme, met his match in the form of Dr Paolo Bombelli, from Chris Howe’s lab in Biochemistry, who had been invited on to discuss Moss-FM. Despite some confusing questions from the broadcaster, Paolo did a great job explaining that we can use moss to power an FM radio.

Moss FM has been created via a collaboration with a Swiss designer (Fabienne Felder) under the umbrella of the biophotovoltaic (BPV) project, which aims to study the photosynthetic (and metabolic) machinery of algae, plants and mosses for generating a flux of electrons (i.e., electrical current). We therefore aim to produce "biological solar panels".

Read a quick introduction to the BPV project.

The BPV project started in Cambridge in 2007, and two departments are leading this project: Biochemistry (Prof Chris Howe) and Plant Sciences (Prof Alison Smith).

Previously, in 2011, collaboration with two other designers, Alex Driver and Carlos Peralta, led to the first conceptual piece to showcase the technology, entitled the Moss Table.

Moss-FM and Moss-Table are our way of communicating and translating our scientific efforts in an approachable way. In the meantime, more fundamental research is being conducted as we aim, in the long term, to identify tangible solutions to the energy crisis.

You can find more info about the Moss-FM and Moss-Table, and the work done in the laboratories of Chris Howe and Alison Smith, by following the links on the right.




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