Industry News

Researchers create new bio-solar cell technology, available on rainy days

2018-07-07
The solar cells they create produce more current than any similar device previously recorded and are equally effective in both strong and low light environments.

This revolutionary new solar technology can be further extended to more places, such as parts of British Columbia and Northern Europe, which are often cloudy. After further research and development, these bio-solar cells are likely to be as efficient as the artificial batteries used in traditional solar panels.
Project leader Vikramaditya Yadav, professor of chemical and bioengineering at the University of British Columbia, said: “This unique solution we developed for British Columbia is an important step in making solar technology more economical.” Solar cells are made from solar panels. The modules are constructed to convert sunlight into electricity.
Researchers have previously built bio-solar cells, but they are all working to extract natural dyes that bacteria use for photosynthesis. That is a costly and complicated process that requires not only the use of toxic solvents, but also the degradation of the dye. The solution proposed by researchers at the University of British Columbia is to preserve these biological dyes in bacteria.
They genetically edited E. coli to produce large amounts of lycopene, a dye that gives tomatoes a reddish-orange color that is particularly efficient at converting light into energy. The researchers wrapped a layer of minerals in E. coli to act as a semiconductor and placed it on a glass surface.

The researchers used coated glass as an electrode for solar cells, and their device achieved a current density of 0.686 mA per square millimeter, an increase of 0.362 mAh over other bio-solar cells in the field. Yadav said: "We have set a record for the highest current density of bio-solar cells. The hybrid materials we developed are inexpensive and sustainable, and after sufficient optimization, their conversion efficiency is comparable to traditional solar energy. battery."
The cost savings of this technology are difficult to estimate, but Yadav believes that this process reduces the cost of dye extraction by one-tenth. According to Yadav, the focus of this research is that we have discovered a process that does not kill bacteria, so they can produce bio-dyes indefinitely. This bio-solar cell technology also has other potential applications, such as mining, deep-sea exploration and other low-light environments.