Dutch scientists have developed a revolutionary system that could one day help isolated villages around the world steadily generate electricity from mundane water-logged plants such as rice growing in paddy fields. Marjolein Helder, co-founder of Plant-e, which makes products that harvest energy from living plants, said that it is based on the principle that plants produce more energy than they need. She added that the advantage of this system over wind or solar is that it also works at night and when there’s no wind. Founded in 2009, Plant-e is perfecting a system originally dreamt up at Wageningen University and patented in 2007. All that the system requires to produce electricity is a plant growing in water, be it mangrove swamps, rice paddies, bogs or simply in a pot or your garden. The technology harnesses the excess organic matter produced by the plant during photosynthesis, which is expelled through the plants roots and consumed by micro-organisms. That consumption frees up electrons, which can then be harvested by placing carbon electrodes close to the roots to generate electricity.