April 1, 2023


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The efficiency of photovoltaic cells will increase and their damage will be reduced. Scientists have found inspiration in nature

What is it actually about? About photosynthesis, or more accurately: the components that allow it to happen. Chlorophyll is a green substance that helps plants absorb energy from sunlight. Lahari Saha is one of the people who would like to use this credit in the context of working on the use of solar energy to produce electricity.

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The key to success in this case will be the ability to use particle brilliance. Importantly, all molecules capable of this also emit light. Excitation of the so-called fluorophore can be brought to a state where it transfers its energy to the metal nanoparticles.

If they are close enough to each other, electricity will be generated. However, Saha points out, the same thing can happen even in the case of particles that don’t exhibit fluorescent properties. However, it must be characterized by high light absorption. Candidates include chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and lutein.

Importantly, in the context of photovoltaic applications, which have to be not only efficient but also cheap, both of these molecules are relatively cheap and easily extractable from plants. If such green solar panels could be designed, there would be additional benefits. One of them is the possibility of easy recycling of individual items.

The efficiency of photovoltaic cells and their harm to the environment can be altered thanks to molecules of plant origin

And this will be very important, because the solutions currently used for renewable energy sources suffer, among other things, from the formation of pollutants harmful to the environment. Therefore, scientists are trying to reduce them as much as possible, and chlorophyll or lutein in photovoltaic panels will undoubtedly be an environmental blow.

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Components currently in use, such as silicon, require expensive processing before they can be adapted to the board design. Others, such as lead and cadmium, are toxic and harmful to the environment. As a result, boards that have lost their usefulness may end up in landfills as waste hazardous to the environment. If particles of plant origin are their building materials, then we can talk about a real revolution. Not only will the efficiency of such photovoltaics increase, but also – and perhaps above all – their harm to the environment will decrease.