The use of electrical currents in agriculture is known as electroculture. It is not really new. A 1900 study already cited experiments showing that potatoes grew six times heavier with an underground jolt. Now, a new study claims that a renewable-powered electrical device can do the same trick.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing put a small ‘triboelectric nanogenerator’ amid the plants to create an electric field. Compared to a second set of peas grown in normal conditions, the yield from the electrified peas increased by almost a fifth, and the plants germinated faster too.
“The main advance is that the self-powered system can boost crop yield by harvesting the wasted wind and raindrop energy in our daily life,” says the academy’s Dr Jianjun Luo.