Harvesting voltage difference between xylem and soil of plants with LTC3588 nanopower energy harvester? Please help :)

http://cds.linear.com/docs/en/datasheet/35881fc.pdf - here is a link for more information about the LTC3588-1 that I was planning on using. What would I use this with? An Arduino board or something similar? 
It's for a research project trying to get energy from plants and trees and things. Basically I want a circuit that can store energy from voltage difference in a plant. 
Any tips or advice for how to go about it? What materials, knowledge and techniques will I need to use? Thank you so much for your input and thoughts. 

sort by: active | newest | oldest
iceng10 months ago

Voltage is not the half of it, what is your skill set as to electricity and current ?

Please do try to respond as it helps me to answer you in a clear way...

tryingtoscience (author)  iceng10 months ago

I'm studying for A Level physics but I would say I don't know that much about the topic yet.

So Energy is measured in Joules = Watts * Seconds...

In a capacitor Joule energy is C*V*V/2 where Capacitance and Voltage are easily measured..

In a small battery the energy is the milliAmp Hour capacity and Voltage..

As I recall Philodendron leaves are good voltage producers when threatened.

Hopefully you know more about trees..

You need a highly efficient inverter or many plants in series, like potatoes in series with zinc and copper electrodes lighting an LED..

Electronic semiconductors require a minimum voltage to operate as an inverter to drive a transformer or inductor to raise the voltage for useful energy.. A gunn diode oscillator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunn_diode

could run at low enough voltage to charge a battery or capacitor... The Unknown in your plant harvesting project is how much current, can the plant deliver at what voltage, to upvert to a useful storage medium..

See a low forward voltage germanium diode and an even lower forward voltage equivalent diode circuit schematic..

Downunder35m10 months ago

I don't know what exactly you are trying to harvest but an Arduino or similar will already use more than what you can gather from your plants or soil.
If it is more about measuring these voltages than with a bit homework it should be possible to find a suitable way of amplifying these weak signal and make them "visible" through an Arduino and display.
Just to get a normal LED to light up fully you would need quite a bit of "harvesting parts"....

tryingtoscience (author)  Downunder35m10 months ago

When you say visible, you mean that the amount of energy will be visible? Sorry if I come across as more than a little ignorant...

By visible I meant showing the voltage like on a multimeter.
Even if you were able to gather enough parts to get let's say 3V all up then the resulting power in milliamps would still be a thing most people would just neglect.

These things are very much for a "chirp" of power, start, transmit, shut down, wait for next available usuable juice.

steveastrouk10 months ago

First, what voltage is present ? The datasheet shows the 3588 isn't designed to start below 2.7V

tryingtoscience (author)  steveastrouk10 months ago

Oh, oops...the voltage present is definitely under a volt, so maybe I should try to find another energy harvester.

Yes. There is a low voltage part from Linear Technology, which requires a small transformer, but I leave finding it for the student......