Take a minute to learn about some new science re: photovoltaic cells in this video. Truly amazing! At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology research is being carried out into harnessing nature’s solar cells and it seems photovoltaic panels made from plant material could become a cheap, easy alternative to traditional solar cells.
Andreas Mershin, a researcher at MIT has been continuing the work started eight years ago by his colleague Shuguang Zhang, who built solar cells from a complex of molecules known as photosystem-I (PS-I), the tiny structures within plant cells that carry out photosynthesis. Andreas believes:
“Within a few years, people in remote villages in the developing world may be able to make their own solar panels, at low cost, using otherwise worthless agricultural waste as their raw material.”
Zhang and his team derived the PS-I from plants, stabilized it chemically and formed a layer on a glass substrate that could — like a conventional photovoltaic cell — produce an electric current when exposed to light.
Now the process has been simplified to the point that virtually any lab could replicate it, allowing researchers around the world to start exploring the process and making further improvements.
The new system’s efficiency converts just 0.1 percent of sunlight’s energy to electricity.
The challenge for the world’s researchers is now to improve the system around tenfold to become useful, says Andreas.
Let’s spend the world’s money in this way NOT on wars?