Navigation Links
Bio-based solar cell

Researchers at the Ruhr-Universitt Bochum (RUB) have developed a bio-based solar cell. They embedded the two proteins photosystem 1 and 2, which in plants are responsible of photosynthesis, into complex molecules developed in-house, thus creating an efficient electron current. Headed by Prof Dr Wolfgang Schuhmann from the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Center for Electrochemical Sciences (CES) and Prof Dr Matthias Rgner from the Department of Plant Biochemistry, the team has published a report in the journal "Angewandte Chemie".

Isolating and embedding photosystems

In leaves, the photosystems 1 and 2 utilise light energy very efficiently; this is required for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and biomass. The Bochum researchers' bio-based solar cell, on the other hand, generates electricity rather than biomass. Prof Rgner's team isolated the two photosystems from thermophilic cyanobacteria that live in a hot spring in Japan. Because of their habitat and behaviour, their photosystems are much more stable than comparable proteins of species that do not occur under extreme environmental conditions. Prof Schuhmann's team developed complex electron-conducting materials, so-called redox hydrogels. The researchers embedded the photosystems into these hydrogels in order to connect them to the electrodes of the photovoltaic cells.

Structure of the bio-based solar cell

The cell is made up of two chambers. In the first chamber, the protein photosystem 2 extracts electrons from water molecules, thus generating oxygen. The electrons migrate through the redox hydrogel to the electrode in the first chamber which is connected to the electrode in the second chamber. The electrode in the second chamber conducts the electrons via a different redox hydrogel onto photosystem 1. There, electrons are passed to oxygen; water is generated. However, the photosystems carry out these processes only if they are powered by light energy. Thus, if exposed to light, there is a continuous electricity flow within the closed system.

Efficiency may be increased

In order to convert solar into electric energy, there must be a potential difference between the two electrodes. The Bochum researchers have established this difference by deploying redox hydrogels with different potentials. The potential difference determines the bio photovoltaic cell's voltage and, consequently, its efficiency. Currently, the bio-based solar cell boasts an efficiency of several nanowatts per square centimetre. "The system may be considered a blue print for the development of semi-artificial and natural cell systems in which photosynthesis is used for the light-driven production of secondary energy carriers such as hydrogen," says Prof Rgner.


Contact: Matthias Rögner
Ruhr-University Bochum

Related biology news :

1. Plastic packaging industry is moving towards completely bio-based products
2. Evonik Industries Selects OPX Biotechnologies for Joint Development of Bio-Based Chemicals
3. A new dimension for solar energy
4. Folding light: Wrinkles and twists boost power from solar panels
5. Climatic effects of a solar minimum
6. Bay Area PV Consortium announces $7.5 million in grants to lower the cost of large-scale solar
7. Weizmann Institute solar technology to convert greenhouse gas into fuel
8. Anti-aging elixir for solar cells
9. ASU awarded $3 million to research solar energy technologies, launch energy Ph.D. program
10. Microwave ovens may help produce lower cost solar energy technology
11. The George Washington University Researcher received $1.7 million to study solar cement
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and ... Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during ... the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... of growth in each of the following categories: net square ... number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... Columbia , June 21, 2016 ... to the new role of principal product architect ... named the director of customer development. Both will ... chief technical officer. The moves reflect NuData,s strategic ... in response to high customer demand and customer ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, ... company committed to enabling healthier lives through the development ... Supreme Court of the United States ... Federal courts that the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent ... the patent eligibility criteria established by the Supreme Court,s ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... announced the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The ... in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in ... These data will then be employed to support ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 A ... collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The ... genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: