Nederlandse brandstofcel haalt energie uit moeras

AMSTERDAM – Een Nederlandse technologie belooft energie uit moerassen te kunnen halen. In afgelegen gebieden zou het proces al kunnen concurreren met de opbrengst uit zonnepanelen.

De cel, voluit de Plant-Microbiële Brandstofcel, haalt de energie uit de wisselwerking tussen levende plantenwortels en bodembacteriën.

Deze wortels leveren organisch materiaal op dat ontstaat via fotosynthese. Ongeveer 70 procent scheiden de wortels ongebruikt uit en bacteriën breken deze resten af. Hierbij komen elektronen  vrij die worden opgevangen door en elektrode.

De cel kan op dit moment 0,4 watt per vierkante meter begroeiing halen, meer dan wat biomassa opbrengt. De onderzoekers voorspellen dat dat in de toekomst kan oplopen tot 3,2 watt per vierkante meter.

Concurreren met zonnepanelen

In dat geval zou een gemiddeld huishouden genoeg stroom kunnen halen uit hun eigen dak van 100 vierkante meter. “Het huidige vermogen van de Plant-Microbiële Brandstofcel kan in afgelegen gebieden al economisch concurreren met zonnepanelen”, aldus de wetenschappers.

De methode heeft zich bewezen op kleine schaal. De onderzoekers willen via hun eigen startup Plant-e het proces uitbreiden naar grote schaal. Uit onderzoek zou blijken dat het systeem ook economisch en sociaal haalbaar is.

Complete daken die groene energie opleveren

Onderzoeker Marjolein Helder benadrukt dat er bijvoorbeeld geen ‘horizonvervuiling’ optreed zoals bij windmolens. Verder hoeft er ook geen natuur te wijken zoals bij stuwdammen.

Naar verwachting komt het eerste product van Plant-e in 2013 op de markt. Complete daken die groene energie opleveren zouden al in 2015 werkelijkheid kunnen worden.

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