HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog
Researchers Extract Plant Material for Use in Solar-Energy Harvesting
7/11/2013

The University of Georgia's Ramaraja Ramasamy, right, and Yogeswaran Umasankar work together to capture energy created during photosynthesis. The two researchers worked on a project to develop technology that can interrupt this process so plant material can be used to harvest solar energy in solar cells.   (Source: University of Georgia)
The University of Georgia’s Ramaraja Ramasamy, right, and Yogeswaran Umasankar work together to capture energy created during photosynthesis. The two researchers worked on a project to develop technology that can interrupt this process so plant material can be used to harvest solar energy in solar cells.
(Source: University of Georgia)

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Page 1/2  >  >>
Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural fit
Cabe Atwell   5/24/2014 1:41:32 AM
NO RATINGS
Bring on the bio-batteries! Everything organic will soon become a 'Coppertop.'

Matrix confirmed.

 

Jack.L
User Rank
Silver
Re: Natural fit
Jack.L   7/31/2013 10:39:53 AM
NO RATINGS
Current technology using multi-junction cells in well into the 40+% conversion range.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Undestanding the mechanism
Elizabeth M   7/17/2013 5:40:28 AM
NO RATINGS
You're right, William K., there are a lot of unknowns with this and questions of viability that won't be answered until it comes out of the lab.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Undestanding the mechanism
William K.   7/16/2013 9:34:48 PM
NO RATINGS
This really is a great discovery because it shows that they have obtained an adequate understanding of the actual mechanism so that they can obtain electrical energy directly.That portion is awsome. Now the challenge will be to enhance the process so that it is scaleable up to useful levels. After that, the remaining concerns would be the process lifetime and moving it to a commercially worthwhile product. Just because something works, even works well, does not mean that it can be a commercially viable thing. It might simply cost to much, but we don't know yet.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural fit
Elizabeth M   7/16/2013 4:24:15 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for that perspective, etmax. I completely understand where you're coming from, and you're right, longevity would be a tricky issue here. I think the truth about efficiency is somehwere in the middle of the researchers' claim and Wikipedia's info, but I suppose it will take testing and use of this technology to get to the truth. I still think it's quite promising, as you point out.

etmax
User Rank
Gold
Re: Natural fit
etmax   7/15/2013 6:02:00 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree Elizabeth, the other thing is that if it's a chemical process rather that drawing ingots slicing slivers and etching microscopic structures I'd say that there is an opprotunity perhaps to make them so cheaply that you cover everything. The downside of biodegradable is of course longevity. In a plant the whoile process is continually renewed where as in a man-made panel the lifetime may be only a year or 2. Still if they cost $1 per kW that may not matter. BTW, I think probably it's not so much hyperbole on the part of the researcher but rather the narrow focus of their claim was not obvious to the reporter. I must say without a wonderful resource like Wikipedia I wouldn't have been able to pursue my hunch.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural fit
Elizabeth M   7/15/2013 5:22:59 AM
NO RATINGS
I came a bit late to these comments so now I'm seeing yours, karl. So it seems that researchesr are not exaggerating and the figure is 100 percent efficiency for converting sunlight into energy? I think we can all agree this research provides an interesting prospect for organic solar cells and has some real potential to benefit their development. Thanks to everyone for bringing up these important points!

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Natural fit
Elizabeth M   7/15/2013 5:18:57 AM
NO RATINGS
Interesting observation, etmax. So it seems like we are catching a researcher in a bit of hyperbole. I think perhaps the greater benefit here is the organic nature of the material--better for the environment. And perhaps with engineering researchers can achieve even greater efficiency.

etmax
User Rank
Gold
Re: Natural fit
etmax   7/13/2013 5:26:17 AM
NO RATINGS
You have summed up something that is said too infrequently very well.

Newel Stephens
User Rank
Silver
Re: Natural fit
Newel Stephens   7/12/2013 2:13:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Sometimes we can learn a lot from nature, but nature's way of doing things is not always the best way for humans to achieve the same purpose.  That is why we have airplanes instead of ornithopters.  Flapping wings work well for birds but would be way to complicated for a human-built flying machine.  The question will be if this process can improve upon the efficiency of our current solar cells, and I think it will take a lot of research and development to get there.

Page 1/2  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs
A soundproofing invention called Acoustiblok recently won a television challenge to silence an air horn with only a fraction of an inch of polymer material.
Robots came into their own in the 1970s. Gone were the low-budget black-and-white B movies. Now robots roamed in full-color feature films with A-list actors.
Major global metropolitan areas are implementing a vast number of technology, energy, transportation, and Internet projects to make the metropolis a friendlier, greener, safer, and more sustainable place to be.
Here’s a look at robots depicted in movies and on TV during the 1950s and 1960s. We tried to collect the classics here, omitting the scores of forgettable B movies such as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. Stay tuned for slideshows of robot stars from later decades.
A scientist at the University of Pittsburgh has achieved a breakthrough in the quest to create artificial cartilage with human cells for treatment of degenerative joint disease.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Jul 21 - 25, Design Products With Bluetooth Low Energy
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: August 12 - 14
Sponsored by igus
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service