Free Electricity from Compost – DIY Earth Battery.

Free Electricity from Compost – DIY Earth Battery.

The lab called ‘Earth’ has been researching & perfecting how to harvest solar power for over 3 billion years.  The best way was found to be:  bacteria & plants.

A teaspoon of soil can contain upwards of 50 billion microbes (for comparison, there are about 7.3 billion humans on our entire planet).

Larry Cooper, with Rita Abi-Ghanem, PhD

So, where do we find bacteria?


HOW IT WORKS…it’s commonly known that the digestive system of humans (& other animals) contain bacteria which decompose food (organic matter) into nutrients, before absorption through the gut wall. Large macro-molecules are broken down into much smaller units as bacteria fuel themselves via an electron-transport chain. The end result, is the smallest unit possible – basic molecules, most of which have either a positive or negative charge. Whether it is within the gut of an animal, or in the soil beneath our feet – bacteria generate electricity.

  1. A zinc screw* acts as the negative anode to attract electrons generated by anaerobic bacteria in the rhizosphere.
  2. Electrons flow through the electrical device to charge/power.
  3. Copper wire* acts as the positive cathode to emit electrons in the top of the soil to produce water (H+ + O2-) & biomass.

*other metals can be used for the anode & cathode.


To boost output = multiple the current by a number of consecutive circuits, add worms (^800%) organic fertilizer (^45%) & molasses (^38%).


  • Sustainable electricity generation.
  • Power monitoring equipment (ie. nutrient loading in blackwater system).
  • Power lighting (ie. driveway, attract insects over water to feed fish etc.)
  • Rapid recycling of used water (greywater & blackwater systems).
  • Degradation of pollutants (including phenol, petrol & oil).
  • Rapid growth of bacteria (conditions soil, compost booster).
  • Mitigation of methane (a strong greenhouse gas).
  • Mitigation of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas).
  • Production of water.
  • Evolution of oxygen.



Want to know more? Search…

Plant microbial fuel cell (PMFC)

Constructed wetland microbial fuel cells (CW-MFCs)       



  1. FertilGold / Larry Cooper, with Rita Abi-Ghanem, PhD. 2018. Microorganisms: The Living Engine of Soil—Part 1. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 December 2019].
  2. Science Direct. 2019. Chapter 3.8 – Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell Technology. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 3 December 2019].
  3. Inhabitat. 2009. Soil Powered Lamp: A Fresh Take on “Dirty Energy”. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 3 December 2019].
  4. YouTube / North Carolina Prepper. 2013. Make a simple Earth Battery. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 December 2019].

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Chrissy-Tiina Laurikainen

In person + online permaculture teacher. Online permaculture consultant. Upkeep of a 30 acre rural property (using permaculture & other agroecological techniques). A communal research laboratory focusing on free innovation in the works. Doing what I can to support LIFE on planet Earth!!

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