Scientists have created a long-lasting biological solar cells





Scientists from the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, created a solar cell based on renewable raw materials. Each such cell is able to generate more electrical current nanowatts per square centimeter. Scientists proposed a new approach avoids damage to the photosynthetic cells, that is the problem that up to this point was to the creation of so-called “natural power.”

Although the technology is still at an early stage in its development, the solar cell on the basis of biological materials in the future may offer several important advantages over conventional photovoltaic systems. Among these advantages worth primarily highlight the increased efficiency and the fact that such solar cells are not based on silicon and other expensive materials used in the manufacture of standard solar cells. True, the new technology has its drawbacks. Systems based on biological materials while not robust enough and produce significantly smaller amount of usable electricity.

Past attempts to base electricity generation process based on photosynthesis relied on one of the steps of the so-called «Z-scheme”, is a process fotoreduktsii in which light energy is converted into chemical energy in two steps, or in the two photosystems (PS I and PS II). When the plant, algae or cyanobacteria absorbs a photon of light, then there is a stronger excitation of an electron in photosystem II, which achieves a higher energy level. After this unstable electron passes through a series of redox reactions within the series electron transport chains and then falls into photosystem I.

Now, scientists at the Ruhr University in Bochum, led by Professor Wolfgang Schumann and Professor Matthias Rogner able to integrate the two photosystems in fotovoltanicheskuyu cell. Instead of capturing electrons within PS I and PS II first stage of photosynthesis, as suggested by previous approaches, they used the charge separation between the two photosystems and thus created an anode and a diode, which when placed in a special redox hydrogel when exposed to light capable of generating an electric current .

To get the result, scientists isolated the two photosystems in the thermophilic cyanobacterium inhabiting in some hot springs. Their choice in favor of this bacterium, scientists have made because they were astounded by the possibility of bacteria exist in extremely difficult conditions, and hence they are very stable photosystem. Bacterium found placed in the redox hydrogel with different potentials. As a result, it turned out that the system began to generate electricity, rather than simply recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen.

The new approach also allows scientists to circumvent the problem faced by, for example, researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Stanford. They use cells rapidly “wear out”, which makes them completely useless after a couple of hours.

“The system can serve as a basis for the development of a cyborg and fully living systems in which photosynthesis is used for the production of secondary energy carriers such as hydrogen,” – says Professor Rogner.

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Tags: Biology , Discovery , Light , Solar .

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