Monday, 23 July 2018

Bacteria powered solar cells Converts Light to Energy

Bacteria powered solar cells

Now its Bacteria Powered Solar Cells

With the amount of fossil fuels being burnt for our daily living and the amount of pollution that there is, it is no wonder why researchers are looking for alternative means to get energy to power our daily living. Of those new energy sources is solar power. Solar power is now being used in many places to generate electricity but is still not being widely used. The cost of installing a solar panel is too exorbitant and that acts as a deterrent in using them. Plus another limitation is that they do not generate much electricity form the sun when there are overcast skies. This led to researchers coming up with Bacteria powered solar cells.

Researchers use the bacteria to power solar cells and they even generate electricity when there are overcast skies. What’s more is that this method is cheap and sustainable even for long periods. Plus to use bacterial powered solar cells means you get more energy than what is available today.

Bacteria powered solar cells a solution to our problems? 


This new way of using bacteria powered solar cells, will be especially useful in places where overcast skies are common and where previously solar energy could not be used. Such places like British Columbia and northern parts of Europe could benefit from this bacteria powered solar cell.

The bacteria powered solar cell is called “biogenic” since they are made from living organisms.

Bacteria powered solar cells in a solar panel: 


Solar cells are the building blocks in a solar panel and thus by using bacteria powered solar cells, you would actually be using them in the panels itself. These bacteria will convert solar energy into electricity.

Previous efforts at using bacteria involved the dyes that bacteria uses in photosynthesis. This process that involved extracting the dye, is a costly process and involves the use of toxic materials, which therefore pushes up the cost of making a solar panel.

What’s more is that the toxic materials that were used in the process actually degraded the dye making it less useful.

The new method of making a bacteria powered solar cells: 


The breakthrough idea came when scientists decided to leave the dye in the bacteria itself and not to extract it.

So they genetically engineered E.coli to produce large volumes of lycopene. Lycopene is a dye that gives tomatoes their red color and more importantly to harvest solar energy to produce electricity.

After this, researchers used a coating on the bacteria to make it act as a semiconductor and then used the bacteria powered solar cells in a solar panel.

The results were astounding. The bacteria powered solar cell generated 0.686 milliamps per square centimeter on the solar panel as compared to 0.362 achieved by current methods.

The use of bacteria powered solar cells is sustainable and cost effective. Researchers estimate the costs in the realms of 1/10th the current cost of making a solar cell.

The next step for researchers is to get the bacteria to survive so as to continue to produce the dye that would convert solar energy.

No comments:

Post a comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.