The current trial is hoping to develop a way to use plants that can generate enough electricity to power equipment used by conservationists to monitor remote habitats all over the world, such as tropical rainforests.
The study is being led by scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), conservation technology unit. The ZSL has partnered with the synthetic biology research company OpenPlant, the conservation technology group Arribada Initiative and Cambridge University. The technology powering Pete is being designed with the help of green energy company Plant-e.
Pete the fern successfully captures images using biomatter fuel cells
"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," said Al Davies, conservation technology specialist working for ZSL.