Bioo, a new company making the rounds in the press, claims to produce "electricity from plants' photosynthesis." Specifically, their website claims that a single potted plant with their integrated system provides "night and day electrical production," allowing for 2 to 3 "charges" of a cell phone per day ("Power: 5.0v, 1.0A") and "Exponential Electrical Production," whatever that means. Their website and IndieGoGo campaign provide no actual explanation of how this works. They basically say, it's super simple, even you can understand it, here is how it works: the plant undergoes photosynthesis, and we turn the byproducts into energy! That basically means and explains nothing.
I know that James Franck studied synthetic photosynthesis in his later years, and others have investigated the endeavor since. But actually synthesizing, tapping into, or otherwise seriously accruing energy via photosynthesis, synthetic or otherwise, and not counting methods involving the burning of organic materials (secondary or tertiary to the photosynthetic process), seems far from possible now. So what is this plant probably doing, if anything?
I've heard of similar systems, but nothing with any more coherent an explanation. Apparently solar panels can generate about 16W/square foot, which is a lot more than this plant thing claims to, so outside of the aesthetic is there even any point to a soil-based generator like this (presuming it is real and works?)?