Organic photovoltaic:biological solar cells are photovoltaic units that integrate photosynthetic proteins similar to those found in nature. Thebiological photovoltaicit is still a long way from commercial production but, from research to research, developers are getting closer and closer to the finish line.
Organic photovoltaics and organic photovoltaics
Before continuing to talk aboutbiological solar cellswe make a necessary distinction betweenbiological photovoltaic (topic on this page) and organic photovoltaics.
These two names can cause confusion in the public, to summarize we will tell you that theorganic photovoltaicsinvolves the use of carbon-based materials that enjoy transparency (for this reason we also speak of photovoltaic transparent), while with the termbiological photovoltaicreference is made to what is expressed in the introduction: biological solar cells that integrate photosynthetic proteins similar to those found in nature.
If you are interested in the topic of photovoltaic transparent, we refer you to the article:Organic photovoltaics, the development of transparent cells.
Biological photovoltaics, technological advances
Thebiological photovoltaictragically far from the commercial world, the reason lies in the low efficiency of photovoltaic units that integrate photosynthetic proteins: the performance does not even come close to that seen with silicon-based solar cells.
Wanting to make a comparison, with conventional photovoltaics, a thin film the size of a fingernail is enough to power a calculator. To supply electricity to the calculator itself using the technology of thebiological photovoltaicwe would need a longer form than the state of New York.
Thebiological solar cellshave attracted the attention of several teams of researchers, including the engineering team ofBinghamton Universityscored an important goal by making dramatic improvements in technology. Thanks to the work of the engineer Seokheun Choi, it was possible to realize the firstbiological solar cellwhich produces one microwatt per square centimeter.
The intervention of the engineer Seokheum Choi brought tangible improvements by increasing the efficiency of thebiological photovoltaicabout a million times. Referring to the example of the calculator, now, only a photovoltaic covering as large as the roof of a caravan would be enough. At present, thebiological photovoltaiccontinues to be far from the commercial sector but the goal is no longer so far.
Scientists assure us that the latest implications finally open the doors to practical application and we begin to talk, in a concrete way, ofbio-photovoltaicminiaturized.
The work of the engineer Seokheum Choi involved the use of a carbon anode immersed in a fluid of charged bacteria in contact with the air. We talk aboutbiological solar, in fact, innovation also exploits plant respiration to draw energy from sugars and maintain energy production even when light is scarce.
And to think that Choi is not amicrobiologist, continuing the experimentation with a careful eye towards microbiology, it will be possible to find a more productive combination and further improve the performance of thebiological photovoltaic.