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That's exactly what an international consortium of scientists have done, creating a truly green solar cell—and one that can be made from something as common as grass clippings. The findings are in the current issue of Nature: Scientific Reports.
This "electric nanoforest" only produces a trickle of electricity at present, but with refinement it could begin to produce useful amounts of current. Plus, the raw materials are durable and cheap: any living green vegetation will do—nature has seen to that. If such devices can be improved substantially enough, plant-based photovoltaics may finally bring affordable solar power to the remote villages where it's needed most.
MIT reports, "The new system’s efficiency is 10,000 times greater than in the previous version — although in converting just 0.1 percent of sunlight’s energy to electricity, it still needs to improve another tenfold or so to become useful, he says."
Mershin states that improving efficiency means getting more of the PS-I substrate exposed to the sun, and he thinks the key to this is to mimic pine trees in a forest, the needles of which are the ideal shape for getting the most out of what sunlight is available, and the trees have branches all the way down the trunk to capture any sunlight that makes it through the top of the canopy.
Originally posted by calnorak
This is up their with the leaf. Totally AWESOME tech.
I think this type of scientific study would be more beneficial to everyone, rather than create things that need clean up procedures.
Just watched the video, yeah that would be awesome!
edit on 7-2-2012 by calnorak because: (no reason given)
The only thing I would do is edit the title, it doesn't communicate what the info truly is. You make it sound like a guide, when its clearly educating us that this is a process that is being developed.edit on 7-2-2012 by calnorak because: (no reason given)