IaaC Student Elena Mitrofanova, working alongside biochemist Paolo Bombelli has created a proposal for a facade system that utilizes the natural electricity-generating power of plants. Consisting of a series of hollow, modular clay "bricks" containing moss, the system takes advantage of new scientific advances in the emerging field of biophotovoltaics (BPV) which Mitrofanova says "would be cheaper to produce, self-repairing, self-replicating, biodegradable and much more sustainable" than standard photovoltaics. The system is able to generate electricity thanks to a type of symbiotic bacteria that lives alongside the moss. When moss photosynthesizes, some of the organic compounds it produces are released through its roots into the soil below. The bacteria feeds on these compounds, breaking them down into a number of byproducts - one of which are free electrons.
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