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:12/12/2016)... , Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at ... possibilities for graphene by combining the material with ... highly sensitive pressure detector able to sense pulse, ... a small spider.  The research ... can be read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ALAMEDA, Calif. , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, ... Single Molecule Counting technology, entered into a license and ... in serving science. The agreement provides Singulex access to ... Europe is used to diagnose ... the United States to aid in assessing ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... December 7, 2016 BioCatch , the global ... its patent portfolio, which grew to over 40 granted and pending patents. ... , , ... patent entitled " System, Device, and Method Estimating Force Applied ... device makers to forego costly hardware components needed to estimate the force ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... , ... The two newest companies to join the University City Science Center’s ... from The Wistar Institute, and Sanguis, launched by a trio of students from the ... Vironika is developing a treatment for a chronic viral infection and its associated diseases, ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 20, ... ... in Less Exposure Surgery (LES®) Technologies, announced today the next evolution in ... Pedicle Screw System platform). In contrast to the competition, SpineFrontier is focused ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire -- WuXi ... device open-access capability and technology platform, today announced ... leading biology focused preclinical drug discovery contract research ... will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of WuXi, and ... competences and providing greater services. The acquisition will ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... GAITHERSBURG, Md. , Jan. 19, ... Altimmune, Inc., a privately-held immunotherapeutics company targeting infectious ... agreement for the merger of PharmAthene and Altimmune ... Novartis Venture Fund, HealthCap, Truffle Capital and Redmont ... and diversified immunotherapeutics company with four clinical stage ...
Breaking Biology Technology: