Canton firm's alternative to oil: Plug in to a tree
By Tim Wacker, Globe Correspondent March 19, 2006
Scientifically speaking, it was a pretty strange scene: In 20-degree weather late last month, a handful of academics were hammering nails into a tree near MIT's Cambridge campus and attaching wires to them. On the other end of those wires was a small sword of copper driven about 2 feet into the frozen earth. In between was a potential revolution in green energy.
''At first we thought it was crazy," said Stella Karavas, marketing director for Canton-based MagCap Engineering. ''Then we went out outside and tested it, and sure enough, it works."
MagCap now thinks it may have found the ultimate in alternative energy. The family-owned electrical components maker says it has found a way to refine a very faint source of electricity found in trees into something that can light a very small light bulb. It is patenting a device that it says can charge a battery from that electricity that, once fully charged, will keep a small light shining forever. And it works -- every time, every tree, Karavas said.