Navigation Links
Purple Pokeberries hold secret to affordable solar power worldwide
Date:4/29/2010

Pokeberries the weeds that children smash to stain their cheeks purple-red and that Civil War soldiers used to write letters home could be the key to spreading solar power across the globe, according to researchers at Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials.

Nanotech Center scientists have used the red dye made from pokeberries to coat their efficient and inexpensive fiber-based solar cells. The dye acts as an absorber, helping the cell's tiny fibers trap more sunlight to convert into power.

Pokeberries proliferate even during drought and in rocky, infertile soil. That means residents of rural Africa, for instance, could raise the plants for pennies. Then they could make the dye absorber for the extremely efficient fiber cells and provide energy where power lines don't run, said David Carroll, Ph.D., the center's director.

"They're weeds," Carroll said. "They grow on every continent but Antarctica."

Wake Forest University holds the first patent for fiber-based photovoltaic, or solar, cells, granted by the European Patent Office in November. A spinoff company called FiberCell Inc. has received the license to develop manufacturing methods for the new solar cell.

The fiber cells can produce as much as twice the power that current flat-cell technology can produce. That's because they are composed of millions of tiny, plastic "cans" that trap light until most of it is absorbed. Since the fibers create much more surface area, the fiber solar cells can collect light at any angle from the time the sun rises until it sets.

To make the cells, the plastic fibers are stamped onto plastic sheets, with the same technology used to attach the tops of soft-drink cans. The absorber either a polymer or a less-expensive dye is sprayed on. The plastic makes the cells lightweight and flexible, so a manufacturer could roll them up and ship them cheaply to developing countries to power a medical clinic, for instance.

Once the primary manufacturer ships the cells, workers at local plants would spray them with the dye and prepare them for installation. Carroll estimates it would cost about $5 million to set up a finishing plant about $15 million less than it could cost to set up a similar plant for flat cells.

"We could provide the substrate," he said. "If Africa grows the pokeberries, they could take it home.

"It's a low-cost solar cell that can be made to work with local, low-cost agricultural crops like pokeberries and with a means of production that emerging economies can afford."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellen Sedeno
sternersedeno@sbcglobal.net
Wake Forest University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Purple sweet potato means increased amount of anti-cancer components
2. Purple tomatoes: The richness of antioxidants against tumors
3. Fried purple tomatoes
4. Purple extremist thrives under inhospitable conditions
5. MoneySolve Unsurprised by Secret Debt Statistics
6. EASAC Secretariat moves from Royal Society to Leopoldina Academy
7. Unlocking the opium poppys biggest secret
8. The genetic secrets to jumping the species barrier
9. Secrets to superb malting barleys explored by ARS researchers
10. Secrets of immunologic memory
11. HFSP President Arima and Secretary General Winnacker awarded for fostering cooperation with China
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: ... and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our successful ... a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against ... collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ... DNA. Bill Bollander , CEO states, ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... LONDON , March 18, 2016 ... Established Suppliers of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical ... & security companies in the border security market and ... and Europe has led ... your companies improved success. --> defence & ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... http://www.apimages.com ) - ... - Renvoi : image disponible via AP Images ( ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation ... d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des réfugiés en Allemagne. ... produire des cartes d,identité aux réfugiés. DERMALOG dévoilera ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... ... Intelligent Implant Systems announced today that the two-level components for the Revolution™ Spinal ... These components expand the capabilities of the system and allow Revolution™ to be ... 2015, the company has seen significant sales growth in 1Q 2016, and the system ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Next ... a talk on its first-in-class technologies for tissue stem cell counting and expansion ... RNAiMicroRNA Biology to Reprogramming & CRISPR-based Genome Engineering in Burlington, Massachusetts. , The ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon ... Pittcon 2019. Chuck has been a volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since ... the board of directors and treasurer and was chairman for both the program and ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... Jon Clark has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. Mr. Clark ... industry collaborations and managing the development of small molecule monographs based on analytical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: