MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Is it possible to use a tall plant for electric current generation?

Date: Sat Feb 26 21:53:39 2000
Posted By: Richard Bersin, Other (pls. specify below), Senior Technical Staff Member, Emergent Technologies
Area of science: Physics
ID: 945512634.Ph

Dear Gautam Sarker:
If you imagine a very tall tree it is quite possible that there will be a 
temperature difference between the top and the base.  Depending upon the 
time of the year and the location the base may be warmer or cooler than the 
top.  A pair of thermocouple wires bonded together could generate a voltage 
difference between the top and the bottom of the tree.  However the 
voltages would be very small.  The larger the temperature difference the 
greater the voltage.  However in this instance the voltages would be very 
small.  For example if the wires are iron and constantin, the voltage 
generated is about 0.005 volts for a temperature difference of 100 degrees 
C!  It is difficult to imagine a temperature difference from top to bottome 
of the tree being that high, so under any normal situation there would be 
very little use for this voltage.  

During a rainstorm there could be very high voltages generated between the 
top of the tree and the base, which is the cause of lightning bolts.  
However the is a situation totally out of control be man and only happens 
sometimes in nature and again would not have practical significance at this 

I hope this answer is clear to you.  


R. Bersin....

Current Queue | Current Queue for Physics | Physics archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Physics.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.